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Man cooking meth causes explosion in hotel room

BOARDMAN — A township hotel room will require decontamination after an explosion there was caused by a guest cooking methamphetamine, police said.

Justin Bowman, 39, of Youngstown is at the Mahoning County jail without bond on charges of aggravated arson, illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs, possession of a schedule I or II substance, inducing panic and tampering with evidence, according to the jail website.

He is due in court today.

Officers were dispatched to the Days Inn and Suites on South Avenue on Tuesday morning after the Boardman Fire Department advised there was possible drug activity after they responded to a fire alarm, according to a police report.

As law enforcement arrived, a couple said that someone was “cooking meth inside the hotel.” One of the witnesses said that when the fire alarm sounded, another guest ran out with her young children as well as another guest, an elderly woman.

Nearby, a member of the fire department pointed to a man, later identified as Bowman, walking toward investigators, who then said he was cooking food on a hot plate, taking it outside when it caught fire.

When asked where the food and hotplate were, the man said he didn’t know.

Bowman was noticeably shaking when asked for his identification, and responded he was “freaking out” when asked why he was nervous, the report states.

During their investigation, officers were told by an employee that an employee said Bowman took a bag to his car after the alarm sounded.

It was then police were told the hotel owner and an employee went to the room where Bowman was staying, where they attempted to open the door with a master key. They were unable to make entry, as the door was secured from inside.

Bowman came to the door, “stuttering and panicking,” the report states. The witness said Bowman had a black trash bag and ran out the door with it.

Surveillance footage shows Bowman entering the room, with smoke appearing and the fire alarm sounding after an hour.

Bowman was shown running east and north on adjacent property. The black plastic garbage bag was found by officers, discarded in foliage, the report states.

Officers discovered methamphetamine in the bag.

Upon further investigation, a receipt was found from earlier in the morning. It included Wal-Phed tablets.

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