First Fred Meyer pipe bomb suspect cleared, DNA evidence leads t - KPTV - FOX 12

First Fred Meyer pipe bomb suspect cleared, DNA evidence leads to new suspect

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Monte Robin Kaija Jr., jail booking photo Monte Robin Kaija Jr., jail booking photo
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A man who was arrested in connection with a pipe bomb being set off in a southeast Portland Fred Meyer store has been cleared in the case and a new suspect is facing charges.

Officers and firefighters responded to reports of an explosion in an aisle at the store on the 5200 block of Southeast 82nd Avenue on May 21.

The bomb squad responded to the scene and confirmed that the explosion was caused by a small explosive device. Court documents describe it as a pipe bomb.

Nobody was injured and the store was not badly damaged.

Police released a surveillance image of the suspect and said numerous tips, as well as information learned on social media, led them to arrest Joshua Hines in June on charges including first-degree arson and possession of a destructive device.

However, Hines was released from jail Thursday on a court order. Court documents state "new evidence has come to the attention of the district attorney's office that provides a sufficient basis for reasonable doubt" and the charges were dismissed for Hines.

Monte Robin Kaija Jr., 45, is now accused of committing the crime.

A probable cause affidavit states fragments from the pipe bomb were sent to the Oregon State Police crime lab for analysis.

On Tuesday, the crime lab reported a DNA match to Kaija from a piece of tape that was used to construct the bomb, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit states Kaija was caught by surveillance cameras in the exact location where the bomb exploded moments before it exploded.

Court documents state Kaija admitted to making the bomb and detonating it at Fred Meyer. A motive was not released.

Kaija is facing charges including first-degree arson and unlawful possession of a destructive device.

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