Robbery Suspect's 'Anthrax' Turns Out to be Poop

A 55-year-old man with a history of psychiatric problems was arrested after allegedly threatening a bank employee with anthrax.

A potentially deadly investigation turned revolting Saturday when a bomb squad team tracked down a man threatening to use anthrax and instead found a pair of his soiled jeans.

The 55-year-old man, who police said has a well-documented history of psychiatric problems, allegedly threatened an employee at the Chase Bank on El Toro Road with anthrax Saturday morning.

"It started off as a regular conversation that went off the deep end," Lake Forest Police Services Chief Lt. Patrick Higa said.

The employee called the Orange County Sheriff's Department at 9:22 a.m.; deputies arrived seven minutes later and saw the man, later identified as Steven Shapiro, leaving the parking lot in a dark gray Corolla.

Deputies tailed the car—a rental—and pulled him over in a parking lot near Rockfield Boulevard and McLaren.

There, the OCSD bomb squad searched the vehicle, discovering a backpack which the team extracted.

When they opened it, they discovered what Shapiro told them would be there: a pair of jeans in which he had defecated.

Shapiro's city of residence has not been officially determined, but he told law enforcement officials he lives in a group home in Orange.

Although the original call to police reported an attempted robbery, Higa said Shapiro is only being booked on charges of making criminal threats because it does not appear he was trying to steal anything from the bank.


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