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January 02, 2009

Aspen New Years Bomb Threat

New Years got ruined in Aspen by a Bomb Threat:

ASPEN, Colo. - They rang in 2009 a day late in Aspen after a former resident unhappy that his hometown has become a resort playground for the wealthy vowed "mass death" and left four bombs around downtown before killing himself.

Aspen police say James Chester Blanning, a 72-year-old who skied competitively as a teen but had grown bitter about his hometown, walked into two downtown banks Wednesday afternoon and left gift-wrapped bombs made of gasoline and cell phone components...

Blanning's bombs caused the evacuation a 16-block area - nearly all of downtown Aspen. The evacuation lasted until 4 a.m., meaning the resort's hallmark mountaintop firework display and ritzy downtown parties were canceled.

Aspen restaurants and high-end stores tried to recapture the holiday spirit Thursday night with a rescheduled fireworks display. Revelers even started chanting a New Year's Eve-style countdown. But the party numbered in the hundreds, not the thousands...

He gave no motive for the bombs, other than vague statement expressing hatred for President George W. Bush. The he added, "I was and am a good man." Linn said Blanning acted alone.

Aspen residents recalled Blanning as an eccentric who grew up fascinated by Aspen's past as a silver mining town. People who knew Blanning say he became disenchanted with his hometown as it became an increasingly exclusive destination for the wealthy.

Mary Eshbaugh Hayes, who writes a weekly society column for The Aspen Times, knew Blanning as a boy and once employed him as a driver for her trucking company. Hayes recalls firing Blanning, a noted skier in high school, because he was unreliable.

"He was a very good skier, but he didn't really fit into the new Aspen," Hayes said Thursday.


Posted by Justin at January 2, 2009 02:11 PM