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TAMPA -- A 31-year-old Kuwaiti citizen told local law officers this week that a Middle Eastern man planned to detonate a car bomb in Tampa on Thanksgiving Day.
The man had assault rifles and plastic explosives in his house, the Kuwaiti said, and his car bomb would be aimed at a church, Tampa police headquarters or the Salvation Army.
The story turned out to be a hoax, authorities said. But not before a team of federal, state and local officers investigated the claims.
"A lot of people worked a lot of hours during the night on this," Lt. Rod Reder of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.
Eyad Hamdan Qadan told his story of the plot to Hillsborough sheriff's detectives on Tuesday.
Qadan, who was in the county jail on traffic charges, told detectives that he had been at a home on 130th Avenue on Nov. 22, buying drugs from a Middle Eastern man. Qadan, who did not give detectives the man's name, said he observed firearms, assault rifles and what appeared to be plastic explosives.
Qadan claimed that the man told him that he would explode a car bomb on Thanksgiving.
Detectives watched the house Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, while Qadan took a polygraph test. The test indicated Qadan was lying, Reder said.
Detectives talked to the people who live in the house and discovered that they are not Middle Eastern and found nothing to verify Qadan's story. They were very cooperative, said Reder.
Qadan was charged with false report of bombing state-owned property and false report of bombing. The Immigration and Naturalization Service is placing a hold on Qadan and will likely deport him, said Reder. Qadan is married to an American citizen. Qadan has been arrested several times in Florida, on charges such as battery, dealing in stolen property and trafficking in drugs.
Reder said that Qadan may have told detectives the fake story about the 130th Avenue home because he had once mistaken it for a drug house and wanted retribution against someone who lives in the home.