Police wanted to know about the pipe bomb. He said he got it at a yard sale, charges say

A traffic stop for erratic driving early Wednesday took a weird turn when a Tacoma police officer spotted a pipe bomb in the car’s center console, according to charging documents.

The car’s owner, a 43-year-old Tacoma man, was arraigned Thursday afternoon in Pierce County Superior Court on charges of unlawful manufacture of explosives and second-degree identity theft. His bail was set at $20,000.

According to charging documents:

The man was in the passenger seat of his car about 2:30 a.m. in the 1400 block of East 38th Street when the woman driving was pulled over for driving erratically.

As one officer went to her side of the car to get her identification (she didn’t have any, but she did have a suspended license), another officer went to the passenger side of the car.

And that’s when the second officer spotted the pipe bomb in the console.

The explosive device, about three inches long and one inch in diameter, was capped at both ends and had a fuse sticking out of it.

The officer asked the man what it was and he said, “Oh, you don’t want to know what that is,” then described it as a “nasty firework.”

The pair were instructed to exit the car because of the pipe bomb.

The man told police he bought the pipe bomb in Sumner at the end of last month at a yard sale because he wanted to see how big of an explosion it would make.

He also said it was “pretty big and scared the (expletive) out of him.”

The man was arrested and the bomb was rendered inert.

It turned out to have black powder in it and be a viable bomb.

As the car was searched, police also found drug paraphernalia, pills, a stolen checkbook and two random identifications.

More charges may be forthcoming.

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker