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Bomb suspect arrested

| June 16, 2010 12:13 PM

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A man suspected of planting the pipe bomb found Tuesday attached to a vehicle in Coeur d'Alene is in custody.

Larry Fairfax, of Sagle, was interviewed Tuesday by Coeur d'Alene police and admitted to building two explosive devices as part of a murder for hire plot, police said today. Fairfax allegedly told investigators Edgar Steele hired him to kill his wife.

One of the devices was discovered Tuesday afternoon by service techs at Fast Lane Quick Lube when a 2004 Mitsubishi sport utility vehicle registered to Steele was brought in for servicing.

Hours after the bomb was found, Steele was in federal court where he pleaded not guilty to arranging the murder of his wife, Cynthia Steele, and his mother-in-law.

Todd Smith, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, filed a criminal complaint Wednesday against Larry Fairfax in US District Court.

According to an affidavit accompanying the complaint, Fairfax told investigators he planted the explosive device on the Mitsubishi on May 30 after Steele told him his wife would be traveling to Oregon the next day.

The plan was for the explosion to trigger a crash killing the wife.

Fairfax told investigators that although he planted the device, he placed extra tape on the fuse so it would not reach the pipe once ignited.

The second device Fairfax built was to be placed on the vehicle Steele drives. Steele would ignite the device himself to make it appear he and his wife were both targeted, thus giving himself an alibi.

Fairfield, who faces charges of building and possessing firearms, was held in the Kootenai County Jail overnight and released to U.S. Marshals this morning.

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