UCPD bomb squad called in to transport rocket launcher

The UCPD bomb squad was called into Novato Tuesday to transport a rocket launcher after an unlicensed teenager was found driving with the device in his car.

At about 9:40 a.m., a traffic officer stopped the 15-year-old in a blue Dodge Durango and noticed the launcher in the vehicle’s back seat, according to Novato Police Department Cpl. Nick Frey. The department then called the UCPD bomb squad, which brought the launcher to the Travis Airforce Base in Fairfield, and the boy was brought to the Marin County Juvenile Hall.

Frey said he did not know the boy’s motivation for having the rocket launcher but said police are still investigating how he acquired it.

According to UCPD Lt. Marc DeCoulode, the device — which he said was military grade and illegal for anyone to possess personally — was not fireable.

This is not the first time the UCPD’s bomb squad has been called to deal with explosives outside of Berkeley. In April, the team detonated two World War I grenades found in a San Rafael home.

According to DeCoulode, the bomb squad — which he said typically has between four and six technicians — consists of UCPD officers with bomb tech duties.

DeCoulode said when these types of calls come in, the calling agency will typically pay a minimum fee for the UCPD’s services plus additional fees that are dependent on how long UCPD officers are busy with the bomb duties.

Sarah Burns is the lead crime reporter