Police find explosive tennis balls in Indianapolis man's bedroom - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Police find explosive tennis balls in Indianapolis man's bedroom

Neal Grubbs Neal Grubbs

Metro Police arrested an Indianapolis man after discovering a tennis ball bomb in his bedroom.

Investigators received a tip that 20-year-old Neal Grubbs was threatening to use the tennis balls, which were filled with explosive pellets, at two Hendricks County movie theaters.

The FBI called Grubbs' mom Tuesday, saying they were conducting an investigation at her house on Delray Road.

"They said, 'We're going to search your home. We believe that there's a bomb in here'," Grubbs' mom said.

"That is just plain scary," said neighbor Suzanne Sokol. "What if it would have gone off? What if something would've happened? My house is right next...I mean his window is right next to my house."

Sokol watched as more than dozen officers, including FBI bomb technicians, converged on Delray Road. They brought out a tennis ball in a Ziploc bag. Bomb squad detectives confirmed it was filled with explosive powder and BBs that matched those in a container in Grubb's bedroom.

"They put some type of substance in the bag, held the bag up and then the bag turned purple," Sokol said.

Metro Police say a tipster called 911 and said Grubbs had threatened to use the explosives to blow up movie theaters - the Rave Theater in Metropolis in Plainfield and the Shiloh Theater in Avon. The caller said he had seen Grubbs with the devices 2-3 weeks ago and that he was planning to use them soon.

"We took this very seriously," said IMPD Ofc. Kendale Adams. "It's certainly a chilling thought. And that's why we're very appreciative of the person who came forward, because that info proved crucial to stopping whatever intent this suspect had."

But Neal Grubb's mom says it was all a setup.

"I know Neal's innocent," she said. "I know he's innocent and I'll stand by that the rest of my life."

His mom says that the tennis ball was planted in their home by her son's friend after a fight. She says that friend had threatened their family because he was afraid Neal was going to rat him out about something.

Grubbs' mom says the friend got mad, planted the tennis ball, then made the anonymous call to police.

"We know that Neal didn't do this and he would never ever even dream about bombing cinemas. He is not a violent person. If I'd known or Neal would have known that this ball was dangerous, he would not let it be in my home," she said.

Grubbs now faces a felony charge of possessing an explosive device. His family says he will fight it. They also say the guy who allegedly set him up, is now on the run.

Metro Police are still interviewing witnesses in the case.

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