Courthouse reopened after bomb scare; Albert Lea man arrested

Published 4:52 pm Friday, July 5, 2024

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(Update: 10 p.m.):

Albert Lea police have released the name of the man arrested during a traffic stop Friday afternoon in Albert Lea that eventually led to the evacuation  of the Freeborn County courthouse.

Police stated Adam Alan Penhollow, 48, was initially pulled over at 1:24 p.m. Friday after a traffic violation near the intersection of Hammer Road and Sorenson Road. The driver reportedly failed to yield to the officer’s emergency lights and siren.

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The vehicle pulled onto Paradise Road and came to a stop. The officer spoke with the driver, who had a revoked driver’s license.

Penhollow was arrested for driving after revocation and fleeing in a motor vehicle. He was suspected of being under the influence of a controlled substance and was to be processed for this offense.

While taking inventory of the vehicle, officers found a locked gun box that was believed to contain a firearm. Penhollow was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition.

Police obtained a search warrant on the locked gun box at the Law Enforcement Center and found a bag of suspected controlled substance and what appeared to be a pipe bomb.

As a result of the pipe bomb, the Freeborn County Government Center was evacuated of all non-essential personnel.

St. Paul Police Bomb Squad was called in and took possession of the device.

A subsequent search warrant was served on Penhollow’s residence.

Penhollow was held on the following charges: Possession of an explosive device, fleeing in a motor vehicle, fifth-degree possession of methamphetamine, second-degree DUI-test refusal, felon in possession of firearms and ammunition and driving after revocation.


Freeborn County employees were allowed to return into the courthouse before 7 p.m. Friday after the St. Paul Bomb Squad removed the device in question from the building.

According to the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office, dispatchers were back up and running in the building at 7:05 p.m. after being moved off-site with 911 calls routed to Mower County.

(Original story):

The Freeborn County courthouse was evacuated Friday afternoon after authorities discovered what appeared to be a pipe bomb brought in with a gun lock box that was seized from a traffic stop.

Freeborn County Sheriff Ryan Shea said employees were evacuated a little after 3 p.m. following the discovery of the device. Inmates in the Freeborn County jail were placed on lockdown and moved to the south end of the jail, which is furthest in the building from the device.

Shea said he didn’t expect the bomb to affect more than the room it’s in if it goes off, but made the decision for safety measures.

The St. Paul Bomb Squad has been called in to assist in the removal of the device and is expected to arrive by 6 p.m.

Many of the employees went home for the weekend when they were asked to evacuate, and a few were escorted back in to retrieve their personal belongings. Dispatchers were moved to another location.

A press release states a local man, whose name has not been released, was arrested on traffic-related charges tied to the case. In his car, authorities found the gun lock box, and when they opened it up found the device.

Check back for more information as it is available.