Updated: April 3, 2012, 5:55 PM
The man arrested in connection with the weekend bombing of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Wisconsin is 50-year-old Francis Gerald Grady, a police official confirmed to TPM.
Grand Chute, Wis., Police Chief Greg Peterson confirmed the man’s name after TPM tracked down information through the local jail.
Peterson said it’s still too soon to know whether the man, who was arrested on a probation violation on Monday night, is the same person who bombed the clinic.
However, Peterson said “there’s a strong link” between the man and the bombing, based on the information investigators have been able to establish so far.Peterson also told TPM it was too early to know the motive for the bombing. He said the clinic, like most Planned Parenthood locations throughout the nation, had been a regular target for anti-abortion protestors. However, the police chief said the man did not appear to have been a part of any protests police were aware of.
“The facility here does draw attention,” Peterson said. “There’s a small group of people that we’ve had contact with in the past and his name is not part of that.”
Wisconsin court records show Grady has a history of run-ins with the law. Most recently, on March, 30, he was charged with resisting or obstructing a police officer.
In August 2011, Grady was sentenced to two months in jail and a year of probation after pleading no contest to a similar charge of resisting or obstructing a police officer.
Grady’s court records show he was also accused of skipping out on his bail a number of times, including three times in 2005 and once in 2007.
In 2004, court records show, Grady was accused of manufacturing or distributing cocaine. He was sentenced to a year and a half in prison and three and a half years on supervised released.
An eyewitness, a security camera and some quick police work led federal and local investigators to arrest the man late Monday.
But because footage from a Planned Parenthood security camera was so grainy, Peterson said there is more work to do to confirm the man they have in custody is the bombing suspect.
“It strikes me that it’s a male and you can determine some things about body type and things like that,” Peterson said. “Unfortunately, the video doesn’t provide a face shot or anything we can look at with certainty and say that this is the person.”
No one was injured and only minor damage to the clinic was done on Sunday when somebody placed the explosive device outside the building. Still, given the target and the type of device used, it was enough to draw investigators from the FBI, ATF and Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
In a news release earlier on Tuesday, police spokesman Sgt. Greg Mohr said the first lead in the case came from a witness who saw a white SUV in the area near the time of the attack.
Surveillance video from a Planned Parenthood security camera confirmed that a white SUV was in the area at the time and investigators were also able use the video to spot what Mohr described as “distinctive markings” on it.
The video also captured up some pictures of the suspect, he said.
A short time later, investigators learned that an SUV that looked like the one at the bombing scene had been involved in an collision in the neighboring town of Kaukauna.
That gave authorities the name of a man who appeared to match the description of the person on the security camera footage, Mohr said.
Grady was being held Tuesday in the Outagamie County Jail but had not been charged in the bombing.
Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him at email@example.com