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Father tipped cops to Helder's identity

(CNN) -- Authorities were tipped Monday night to the identity of accused mailbox bomber Lucas Helder when the art student's father telephoned the police chief in Menomonie, Wisconsin, the college town where Helder lived and attended the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Cameron Helder "called us and said he had received a letter from his son and the contents led him to believe his son may be involved," Menomonie Police Chief Dennis Beety said.

Authorities located Helder by tracking a pair of cellular phone calls he made to friends in Minnesota, said Sheriff Dennis Balaam of Washoe County, Nevada.

In the federal criminal complaint filed in Iowa, FBI Special Agent Scott B. French said two friends said Helder admitted he was responsible for the mailbox bombings.

After pinpointing Helder, agents negotiated for his surrender as he drove through Nevada.

Balaam said the chase reached speeds of between 85 mph and 100 mph before Helder pulled over on Interstate 80. Helder spent Tuesday night under suicide watch in the Washoe County Jail.

The complaint in Iowa said police in several locales stopped the student three times since Saturday. All three stops were made before authorities got the tip from Cameron Helder.

Two were speeding stops -- near St. Edward, Nebraska, just after midnight Saturday, and in Fowler, Colorado, before 3 p.m. Sunday.

The third was a stop for failure to wear a seat belt about 2 p.m. Saturday near Watonga, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma trooper also cited Lucas Helder for an expired driver's license.

The first Nebraska trooper to stop Helder reported he told him he "didn't mean to hurt anybody" as he approached.

The Colorado trooper said Helder "appeared to be very nervous and had very watery eyes like he was going to cry."




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