Joseph Hardison

North Carolina Man Charged with Possessing Weapon of Mass Destruction

A North Carolina man has been arrested after police allegedly found explosives and bomb-making materials at multiple locations, WITN-TV reports.

On Thursday evening, authorities in Washington, North Carolina, received a tip that prompted local and state authorities to investigate 45-year-old Joseph Hardison.

Local law enforcement and the state’s Bureau of Investigation searched Hardison’s former apartment on Highland Drive and property associated with his employer, Park Boat Company.

“At that time, we contacted the SBI so they could bring their bomb technicians over because we really didn’t know what we had, and then at that moment, we conducted searches of two locations here in Washington,” Washington Public Safety Director Stacy Drakeford said, according to WITN-TV.

Police said they located several explosives that appeared to be homemade, in addition to chemicals that can be used to make bombs.

Hardison was taken into custody and he has been charged with possession of a weapon of mass destruction, according to the television station. He has not made any statements about why he allegedly had the materials.

Park Boat Company’s owner said Hardison had been in “good standing” as an employee prior to the arrest.

“Mr. Hardison worked with our company from April 2021 to the present. He was an employee in good standing,” the owner told WITN-TV. “We are shocked and saddened by the recent developments. Out of respect for the ongoing investigation, we will not make further comments at this time.”

Neighbors who live near the boat company told the television station they noticed a law enforcement presence at the business but did not know what was happening initially.

“It makes me feel scared, something like that right there,” Joyce Geddings told WITN-TV.

Despite the presence of the dangerous materials, investigators determined there was no immediate threat to the public.

Authorities are holding Hardison at the Beaufort County Detention Center on a $25,000 bond.

Washington is on the eastern edge of North Carolina along the Pamlico River.

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[Feature Photo: Joseph Hardison/Washington Police Department]