Man accused of driving stolen vehicle, claimed to be filled with explosives, onto San Onofre grounds pleads not guilty to felony charge
VISTA (KUSI) — A man accused of driving a stolen van onto the grounds of the defunct San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station and claiming to have explosives in the vehicle pleaded not guilty Monday to a felony auto theft charge.
Erik Jon Norman, 27, was ordered held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
Security officers reported that Norman drove a white delivery van past the entrance gate and into a restricted parking lot around 4:20 p.m. last Tuesday, said sheriff’s Sgt. Pamela Wotkyns. The security guards quickly detained Norman, who told them the van contained electronic equipment and "possible explosives.”
The sheriff’s department’s bomb/arson unit was called to the scene but determined the van contained no explosives, only standard shipping parcels.
Deputies later discovered the van had been reported stolen earlier in the day from Oceanside and arrested Norman.
Norman faces three years in prison if convicted. He will be back in court Sept. 26 for a readiness conference and Sept. 28 for a preliminary hearing.
The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has not operated since January 2012, when a small, non-injury leak occurred. The majority owner, Southern California Edison, later decided to retire the two reactors rather than follow a costly start-up procedure.