Wallace, CA– Authorities in Calaveras County as well as the FBI, say an elderly man threatened to burn down his home yesterday.
The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office reports that an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigations contacted Sheriff’s investigators regarding a suspicious letter they had received by fax. The suspect, 77-year-old Bruno Wendland, was reportedly despondent over losing his home by foreclosure, and claimed he would burn down his residence with explosive fuel devices.
Members of the Calaveras Sheriff Hostage Negotiations Unit (HNT), Investigations and Patrol Divisions, and the Explosive Ordinance disposal (EOD) unit responded to Wendland’s home at 280 Oliveira Court in Wallace. The immediate concern for the Sheriff’s Department was the safety of nearby homes and Wendland’s elderly wife.
HNT members were able to call Wendland and determine that his wife was not home. A reaction team, consisting of EOD and SWAT members then arrived on scene.
After speaking with HNT, Wendland agreed to come out of his house. He peacefully turned himself in without incident.
Investigators conducted a security clearance of the home and interviewed Wendland. They found no explosive devices in or outside the residence.
Wendland did admit to investigators that he did pour gasoline on the ground outside the home to give authorities the impression that he had followed through with his plan.
Wendland was transported by ambulance to Mark Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital for observation. No injuries were reported.