Formal charges filed against Indiana man for weapons, endangering child

Updated 11:30 a.m.

RANTOUL — The Indiana man arrested Wednesday evening after police sought him most of the day for guns, ammunition and two explosive devices in his vehicle has been formally charged.

Jeremiah Bridges, 39, of Greencastle, Ind., has been charged with endangering the life or health of a child, unlawful use of a weapon and possession of an explosive/incideniary device.

Bridges is due to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. today (Thursday) in Champaign County Circuit Court.


Updated 7:21 p.m.

RANTOUL — Rantoul police have arrested the Indiana man who was wanted after guns, ammunition and two suspected explosive devices were found in his truck Wednesday morning.

Jeremiah Bridges, 38, was taken into custody late Wednesday afternoon on Belle Avenue, not far from where his truck had been found parked near the intersection of U.S. 45 and Letchworth Avenue containing his sleeping 12-year-old son, a dog and the weapons cache, police Lt. Jeff Wooten said.

Police had suspected Bridges was armed and possibly suicidal. Wooten said he did not have information on whether Bridges was carrying a weapon when he was arrested. He was arrested without incident.

Wooten said a member of the media who was in town to do a story on the case spotted Bridges and reported the location to police. Bridges was taken into custody without incident.

The Champaign/University of Illinois Bomb Squad was called in after two suspected explosive devices were found in the truck.

"Both devices had explosive properties and were rendered safe," Wooten said.

More information when it becomes available.  


RANTOUL — Police are searching in Rantoul for the whereabouts of a 38-year-old Indiana man who is possibly armed and suicidal.

A police search of a vehicle believed to belong to Jeremiah Bridges revealed a sleeping 12-year-old boy, weapons, ammunition and what authorities believe is an unexploded bomb Wednesday.

The area near the intersection of U.S. 45 and Letchworth Avenue was cordoned off, and no traffic was allowed in or out of Rantoul on U.S. 45 from the north from that point.

Bridges is described as a white male, 5-11, 135 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes who was last seen wearing a white shirt and either khaki or blue pants.

The Champaign/University of Illinois bomb squad was called in after the vehicle search revealed what police said might be an unexploded bomb.

Rantoul police Lt. Jeff Wooten said the bomb squad might take the device to a rural area to detonate it.

The incident began about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday when the owner of a business said he had discovered a truck parked in his parking lot. The owner found a youngster asleep inside and alerted police.

Wooten said police found a 12-year-old boy and a dog that had been left unattended in the truck.

“The boy was awakened at 2 a.m., and his dad told him to go back to sleep, and that was the last he had seen of his dad,” Wooten said.

Police tried to call Bridges’ cell phone but got no answer. A satellite pinpointing of the phone indicated the phone was located northwest of Rantoul. But Wooten said with a margin of error of 2,500 feet, that could mean the phone is actually located inside the village limits.

Champaign County sheriff’s police were called in to help search the area.

Wooten said firearms, a large amount of ammunition and what police believe was “an explosive device” were located inside the truck.

Wooten said there have been possible sightings of Bridges, but he did not elaborate, saying authorities are concerned for Bridges’ welfare.

“He might be suicidal and we believe he might be armed,” Wooten said.

Police alerted Bridges’ family. Wooten said “the boy is fine,” was taken to the Rantoul police station and is in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services.

Police cordoned off a 300-feet area at the intersection, which was opened to traffic on U.S. 45 about 2 p.m.

Anyone with possible information about Bridges is asked to call Rantoul Police Department at 892-2103 or 911.


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