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Attorney lambasts bomb hoax charges at mall

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The attorney for a Stone Mountain man arrested after wearing an unusual, electronics-laden outfit to Discover Mills Mall calls the charges "appalling" and an affront to her client's freedom of expression.

Police questioned Daniel Tudela, 32, near a movie theater inside the Lawrenceville mall on Sept. 13 after he walked in wearing a trench coat loaded with gadgets and wires. His appearance had alarmed employees of a clothing store, who called police.

Gwinnett police lodged charges against Tudela under a law that prohibits making look-alike bombs, and he was arrested this week.

Atlanta attorney Regina Matthews on Thursday said Tudela was merely dressing in the "cyber punk" style made popular in Japan.

Tudela was booked at the Gwinnett County Jail on Tuesday and released on $5,700 bond the following day. He's charged with a misdemeanor count of unlawful manufacturing of a destructive device.

"The device (police) are referring to contains electronic equipment that people carry every day -- a phone, an MP3 player and a GPS unit," Matthews said. "Simply put, this man was arrested for displaying his gadgets in an unconventional manner."

A photo police took for evidence at the mall shows Tudela clad in black, his forearms packed with gadgets, with wires running to his chest, around his belt and to his left ear. Before releasing him, police told Tudela he was being questioned only because he had alarmed mall patrons.

Investigators later consulted with Homeland Security. Four days after confronting Tudela, they took out warrants for his arrest.

Matthews called her client an educated, working citizen who doesn't take allusion to terrorism lightly. She plans to fight the charges in court.

"I don't condone terrorism, Daniel doesn't condone terrorism, and I'm saddened that our country is so plagued by terrorist activity that it causes people to live in constant fear of anyone who is different from them," she said.

On Thursday, Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said the department stands behind the charges and the work of investigators.

According to Georgia code, it's unlawful to have a hoax device or replica of a destructive device or detonator with the intent to make another person believe it is real.

Comments

Elbonian 1 year, 12 months ago

NOTE: "... with the intent to make another person believe it is real." Did he really do something to "make another person believe it is real?" Not from what I've read so far...

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R 1 year, 11 months ago

"Investigators later consulted with Homeland Security."

Four DAYS after confronting Tudela.

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Say_that_again 1 year, 11 months ago

And which electronic device was illegal? This is an overreaction. If he had been clean shaven and polo shirt with no coat, no one would have thought anything about it. Hopefully their will be cooler heads to get this case dismissed quickly to reduce the cost to taxpayers in pursuing something so ridiculous. P.S. for those that were scared: If he had a bomb, it would have been hidden under a buttoned coat, not openly displayed. If you let this terrified you, then the terrorist are winning. This is the kind of overreaction they want to see!

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gwinnettresident1 1 year, 11 months ago

What is the saying. If you heard my shot you werent the target..I dont see anything that would make me afraid..We have some drama queens in society now. (For sure not my taste) look around at where are we at in this world now...Look at the high schools in Gwinnett. It is scary there for sure pink hair, ink, nose rings, ear buds stuck in both ears...Oh well i doubt the Grand Jury will present a bill on this one.

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John_Smith 1 year, 11 months ago

This guy had no intent of creating panic. Sure he was "wearing" his electronics in an unconventional manner but that's not illegal......

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Don 1 year, 11 months ago

With the most recent shooting in a theater I do think they had some concern. Arrest him maybe not but question him definitely yes.

I can see the headline now if something did happen and nobody questioned this guy, all the comments would be, " i can not believe nothing was done when people saw this guy"

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mickey 1 year, 11 months ago

You hit the nail right on the head. These folks would be the first to sue. This guy was LOOKING for trouble!

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cuzzcuzz 1 year, 11 months ago

If he should get arrested for this...Then all these little boys wearing them tight bright "skinny jeans" should be arrested...

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LvilleGuy 1 year, 11 months ago

Anyone that says he shouldn't have been questioned is an idiot. Fact is how you dress and look influences how others interpret what you are doing and what you are like....get over it.

If you want to buy a new car, don't go in nice clothes...go in jeans and a t-shirt. You'll have a much better chance getting a better deal.

So he's wearing all black, and a trench coat in 80 degree weather...with wires and doesn't think he will cause attention???

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jack 1 year, 11 months ago

Hope he doesn't wear his antlers hat walking through the woods this fall.

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news2me 1 year, 11 months ago

The "Cyber Punk" style doesn't fit his body type. Maybe if he were younger and more fit he could have pulled off the look. He should have sported this fashion statement in Japan where it is all the rage (according to his lawyer), wonder if he would have blended in there?

This wannabe terrorist has gotten the taste of fame he wanted, but unfortunately the feds are going to give him more attention than he ever dreamed of. Actions have consequences.

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