NEWLAND – Locally purchased equipment compatible with making an improvised explosive device, as well as other details of the Thomas Dewey Taylor investigation, have been revealed by court documents in connection with the claim and the execution of a search warrant at Taylor’s home.
As previously stated by The Avery Journal-Times, Taylor, 43, was arrested on September 27 and charged with possession of a weapon of mass destruction and three counts of attempted first degree murder. It first received a guaranteed bond of $ 500,000 before being raised to $ 1 million.
According to a copy of the search warrant application affidavit and documentation attested by North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Special Agent WJ Waugh, filed in Avery County Court and obtained by AJT, Taylor was employed for 27 years and most recently an office manager at Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. He was dismissed from his post on August 4 for breach of his duties.
Additionally, the warrant request provides a detailed list of probable causes, including the discovery of a manufactured explosive device in a closet at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games office in Linville, prompting law enforcement to seek a warrant. to search Taylor’s home.
According to the documentation, GMHG chairman Stephen Quillin met with officials from the Avery County Sheriff’s Office on September 24 in reference to a embezzlement case involving Taylor. During the meeting, Quillin showed ACSO detectives and NCSBI agents a photograph of a box containing commercial grade fireworks that was in a closet at the GMHG offices at 4210 Mitchell Avenue in Linville.
The search warrant request says a meeting was arranged on September 27 between the special agent in charge of the NCSBI, GA Parsons, and GMHG board member Sally Warburton to dispose of the items. Arriving at the GMHG office on September 27, Warburton and her husband noticed that the power was cut in the building.
ASAC Parsons entered the facility to meet with the Warburtons to determine the location of the closet where the fireworks were, and upon entering the closet, Warburton thought the fireworks were no longer present. A red-colored cooler was located on the floor of the closet and, once opened, Parsons observed several fireworks with fuses connected to a hotplate, which was plugged into an extension cord connected to a power outlet in the closet.
Inside the cooler were various flammable liquids and other unknown liquids, as well as “various items used as shrapnel in incendiary / explosive devices,” according to the search warrant request.
The documentation indicates that ASAC Parsons unplugged the hotplate and, looking at the main breaker box, noticed that the main breaker was in the “off” position. The documentation also indicated that Taylor had been identified as a suspect in an embezzlement case involving fraudulent credit card charges while working for GMHG.
According to the search warrant request, Waugh and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent J. Brown interviewed GMHG administrative assistant Cassie Vance, the September 27. Vance admitted to storing fireworks at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games office in 2020 and that they were purchased by Taylor from the Cloudland Volunteer Fire Department in Tennessee, adding that Taylor normally purchases sparklers and candles. Roman candles.
The search warrant documentation stated that “ATF Special Agent D. Schauble showed Vance a photo of the cooler in the office cupboard, and Vance said she thought she had a cooler. colored red or blue in his residence at 316 Snowshoe Loop which was similar to the image shown to him.
With the search warrant documentation noted also during the investigation, it was determined that the phone lines associated with the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games office alarm system had been disabled around 12:09 a.m. on September 26, adding that an MHS Technologies employee said that before the phone lines were turned off, the alarm was disarmed with a code, and Vance and Taylor knew the building’s alarm code.
The search warrant request reports that NCSBI SA W. Colvard went to the Family Dollar Store in Newland and found a hotplate matching the one found in the cooler. SA Colvard spoke with the Director of Family Dollar, who said that a hotplate was sold on September 26 and a receipt stating “One Bene Casa Black single coil burner, three (3) bottles of 32 ounces was found. Kingsford lighter fluid and a bottle of Pennzoil 10W30 motor oil were sold at the store on Sunday, September 26 at around 6:36 p.m.
A Bene Casa hotplate, two bottles of Kingsford lighter fluid, and a bottle of the same weight and brand of motor oil were in the cooler, along with the pyrotechnics. The documentation indicates that Colvard also spoke with two employees at the Family Dollar store working at the time of the purchase, one of whom positively identified Taylor as the person who purchased the items.
The search warrant application for 316 Snowshoe Loop, Newland was reviewed and issued at 9:11 p.m. on September 27 by District 24 Superior Court Judge Greg Horne, and was executed at the residence at 9:45 p.m. CE that night. According to court documents, SBI agents seized a receipt, cell phone, computer, lock-picking kit, PVC pipe and fireworks from the premises.
According to the NCSBI, the investigation is ongoing and the next scheduled hearing date for Taylor is set for Tuesday, October 26.