A Northeast Baltimore man has been arrested on charges of planting a fake explosive device after police accused him of placing a toilet and note in front of the Old Courthouse that caused a on Monday.
Duane Gerald Davis, 51, of the 1400 block of Lochner Road, was charged on Monday with making a false statement of a destructive device and planting a phony explosive device. Davis is being held without bail and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for March 4 in Towson, according to online court records.
If convicted, each felony carries up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Davis, of the Woodbourne Heights neighborhood, left a toilet, radio and notes in front of the Old Courthouse on Monday morning, according to Lt. Rob McCullough, a police spokesman.
A maintenance worker found the items around 8 a.m., and alerted security. Police called bomb squad technicians and a helicopter to make sure the area was secure and the device was harmless. Police blockaded streets around the courthouse until just after 11 a.m.
According to district court filings, the radio was attached to the toilet with zip ties and wires. A cell phone and a metal telescoping antenna were attached to the top. The toilet was covered in stickers and news clippings, along with a picture of Davis and a note signed with his name and address.
Along with the toilet, police found one note written on cardboard and a petition taped to the radio. The petition urged state and local officials to push Illinois investigators to look further into the 2006 death of Davis' son, Gerrell, who was shot during an attempted burglary in Zion, IL.
Davis was arrested at his home Monday afternoon, according to McCullough.
The toilet found outside the courthouse looked similar to one spotted near Baltimore City schools headquarters on North Avenue, according to the Baltimore Brew. That toilet, like the one discovered in Towson, was covered with pictures and messages for public officials. A picture attached to it shows a sign for Davis' restaurant business.
Davis most recently worked at Shorty's Underground Pit Beef in Upperco, where Patch contacted him Monday. He listed his current employment in district court filings as a cook at the Corinthian Lounge and Restaurant in Windsor Mill. A man who answered the phone there said he was a temporary employee for "a couple of weeks."
A Facebook page for Davis contains what appears to be a reference to Monday's event.
"Monday morning Madness," he wrote. "Left my Toilet at the Baltimore County Courthouse. Also left a kite of Knowledge. Secrets will not Block Justice."
A woman saw that post on Monday and e-mailed State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger, who notified police.
Davis' prior convictions include charges in 2008 in Illinois for terrorist activities, for which he received two years probation, according to district court records. Most recently, Davis tried to sue Gov. Martin O'Malley in December. A state judge dismissed that suit in early January.
Davis' YouTube account has a collection of rambling videos that, among other things, accuse O'Malley, federal officials, arts organizations and others of violating his rights and practicing racism. Davis' decorated toilets make a cameo in at least one video. Davis has not posted any new videos since May 2010.
Davis' most recent criminal court appearance came in 2009, in response to charges stemming from an October 2008 incident, including attempted burglary, theft and harassment. The state's attorney's office declined to prosecute, according to court records.
When Patch attempted to reach him by phone early Monday afternoon at his Upperco barbecue restaurant, Davis declined to comment, saying he was leaving for a courthouse to renounce his American citizenship. Earlier, he claimed no knowledge of the package but said he had decorated toilets in the past and given them to local officials and institutions like the American Visionary Art Museum.
"They're parting gifts," he told the newspaper. "A toilet ain't racist, it don't care who sits on it, it don't care who uses it."