Man facing multiple counts tied to pipe bomb, traffic stop

Published 3:27 pm Monday, July 8, 2024

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An Albert Lea man is facing multiple charges tied to a short chase, traffic stop and subsequent items seized from his vehicle and home Friday in Albert Lea.

Police discovered one of the items seized from his vehicle, a homemade pipe bomb, in a locked gun case brought back to the Freeborn County Law Enforcement Center from the search of the man’s vehicle after the traffic stop. The device led to the evacuation of the government center complex for over three hours, and authorities called in the St. Paul Bomb Squad for removal.

Adam Alan Penhollow, 48, faces one count of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle; one count of fifth-degree drug possession; one count of possessing, making, transporting or storing an explosive device after being convicted for using, possessing or selling a controlled substance; one count of selling or possessing a suppressor not lawfully possessed under federal law; one count of driving while intoxicated-refusing to submit to a chemical test as required by a search warrant; one count of possessing ammunition or any firearm-user of a controlled substance; and one count of driving after revocation.

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Court documents state an officer was alerted to Penhollow Friday afternoon after observing a possible fight outside the Walmart pharmacy at 1550 Blake Ave. A male left the group and got into a gray Kia Soreno registered to Penhollow’s spouse.

The officer believed the male was Penhollow, who was reportedly driving with a revoked license, and after verifying this information with dispatchers, the officer attempted to pull over Penhollow on Sorenson Road south of Hammer Road. Before turning on his lights, the officer noted Penhollow reportedly did not properly signal his turn.

Court documents state instead of of pulling over, the vehicle accelerated, and the officer activated its siren. The vehicle reportedly accelerated to 55 mph before turning into Paradise Road. After the officer used the public address system in his car to address Penhollow by name, Penhollow reportedly stopped the vehicle and was arrested for driving after revocation and felony fleeing.

Another officer began an inventory of the vehicle and noticed parts of baggies with white residue in them and began a drug impairment evaluation and received a search warrant for a blood or urine sample.

Officers also found a locked gun safe in the vehicle within reach of the driver. Court documents state after picking up the safe, it seemed heavy and officers thought it might contain an illegal gun so they applied for and received a search warrant to open the safe.

Once at the Freeborn County jail, Penhollow reportedly refused to provide a blood or urine sample despite the warrant.

When opening the gun safe, officers found a bag that contained over 9 grams of a white crystal substance that tested positive for meth, as well as a homemade pipe bomb.

After receiving a search warrant for Penhollow’s home, officers found a shotgun, rifle and pistol ammunition, a revolver, a stockless rifle with a sound suppressor attached to sub-legal length barrel, a CO2 container used as an explosive device, a cartridge reloading equipment, another explosive device and a partial home-built Sten submachine gun.

Penhollow was previously convicted of fifth-degree drug possession in March 2020. In May of this year, he entered pleas for fifth-degree possession, committing crimes while wearing a bullet resistant vest, owning a short barrel shotgun and DWI.

In court Monday, District Court Judge Christy Hormann set Penhollow’s bail at $200,000 without conditions or $100,000 with conditions. If he posts conditional bail, he must wear a GPS monitor, not use or possess firearms or dangerous weapons and not possess alcohol or drugs, among other conditions.

He is next slated to appear in court July 18.