AUSTIN, TX — A man suspected as being the serial bomber who’s acts of terror frightened Austin residents for nearly three weeks has been identified as Mark Anthony Conditt.
Police officials identified Conditt as the suspect just hours after the 23-year-old blew himself up inside his car as SWAT team members attempted to take him into custody.
Following up on a myriad of tips, police officials were able to track Conditt after he turned on his cell phone, which phone records show had been in the areas of each of the recent bombings.
Police say tracking the purchase of several “exotic” batteries, which were purchased online by Conditt and used to make the exploding devices also helped them to finger him as their suspect.
“These weren’t your store-bought Duracells,” a law enforcement official told NBC News.
A report published by The Miami Herald shows Partially unsealed federal court documents show that agents from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms were preparing to arrest Mark Anthony Conditt on Tuesday on charges he had received, possessed or transferred destructive devices.
According to the report, A U.S. Magistrate Judge heard by phone Tuesday an ATF agent’s request to issue an arrest warrant for Conditt and signed the warrant electronically.
It was when law enforcement agents attempted to carry out the warrant on Tuesday night, that Conditt killed himself inside his vehicle.
Victor Gonzales, the mayor of Pflugerville, Texas said Conditt lived about two blocks from him in a small, tight-knit town located about 20 miles north of Austin.
Lee Rocha, who has lived in the neighborhood for 28 years, said he’d often see Conditt in town and got the feeling that he was somewhat of a loner.
“I never really talked to him, but I’m not really a conversation person,” said Rocha, who told USA Today that he sometimes saw Conditt at a local karaoke bar. “He sometimes came in with others, sometimes by himself. I didn’t get the sense that he was a popular guy.”
Federal officials praised the FBI and local police forces in their identifying Conditt on Wednesday.
“Hundreds of federal, state and local law enforcement officers worked together to identify and locate Conditt. I was awed by their professionalism, collaborative spirit, and indefatigable commitment to protecting the public,” United States Attorney John F. Bash said in statement. “I send my deepest condolences to the families of Anthony Stephan House and Draylen Mason, and I pray for the recovery of the surviving victims of these monstrous crimes.”
Meanwhile, authorities who say their investigation has led them to a “treasure trove of information” are warning the public that other explosives may still be out there.
“We are concerned there may be other packages still out there, we need the public to remain vigilant, especially today as we go through the investigation,” FBI Agent Christopher Combs, head of the agency’s San Antonio office, told reporters.
Mayor Gonzales concurred with Combs’ comments, adding: “We don’t know where this suspect has spent his past 24 hours, and therefore we still need to remain vigilant to make sure that no other devices have been left out in the community.”