Little known still about man who planted IED in Williamsburg

Three days after an explosive device detonated just off the College of William and Mary’s campus, several questions remain unanswered about Stephen James Powers, the man accused of setting it off.

Powers, 30, of the 1400 block of Village Drive in Gloucester, was charged Friday night with possessing and using an explosive device and committing an act of terrorism, Riley said in a news release Friday night. He was arrested in his Gloucester home after a daylong joint investigation by Williamsburg Police, Colonial Williamsburg Public Safety, James City County, Williamsburg-James City County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police and federal authorities, Riley said.

"The Williamsburg police have never charged anyone with terrorism in my 27 years here," Williamsburg police spokesman Maj. Greg Riley said Saturday.

It’s still not clear what the device was made of, or why Powers would have planted it.

When a reporter called a number listed for Stephen Powers, a woman who identified herself as his mother-in-law declined to comment on behalf of the family.

Aside from a 2011 traffic infraction and 2014 Schedule 7 bankruptcy filing, Powers has a clean record, court records show.

The device exploded Thursday night at the corner of South Boundary Street and Francis Street near Merchants Square, Williamsburg police said, and emergency crews responded then to what they thought was a car fire.

As families and alumni started filling the William and Mary campus for homecoming weekend the next day, police investigated the device. The college’s homecoming plans weren’t changed as a result of the explosion and are going on as scheduled.

Mishkin can be reached by phone at 757-641-6669. Follow her on Twitter at @KateMishkin.

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