DIXON – Two men were in Lee County Jail on Monday after, authorities say, they were found carrying a pipe bomb near the Dixon state prison early Sunday.
Zachary W. Chaffer, 31, of Dixon, and Scott R. Williams, 32, of Sterling, were arrested about 4 a.m. Sunday near Heights Road and Brinton Avenue. They were charged with unlawful use of a weapon after Lee County sheriff’s deputies received a call from the prison about two suspicious individuals walking by the prison, Lee County Sheriff John Varga said.
Varga said that when officers arrived, the two men were found to be in possession of a PVC pipe bomb similar to one found in the water near Sauk Valley Community College in July.
During interviews, the men claimed that they had bought the pipe bomb in Dixon near the Beanblossom parking lot, Varga said.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Department called in the Winnebago County Bomb Unit, which safely detonated the device.
Asked what the men’s motive was, Varga said he couldn’t be sure.
Both men have bonds set at $50,000 and are set to appear in court on Oct. 30.
Chaffer was also arrested on a Whiteside County warrant for theft.