An Oklahoma man who created bogus social media accounts and claimed to be kidnapped to news stations throughout Louisiana, all in an effort to gain the attention of his ex-wife has been arrested in connection with the aggravated arson, attempted murder and attempted bombing of a Natchitoches residence occupied by his ex-wife according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones Jr.
The investigation began approximately three weeks ago, when the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office began receiving calls from several television news stations throughout Louisiana reporting they were receiving messages about a man identified as Robert Groomer being kidnapped and held hostage.
NPSO Detectives were familiar with Groomer during a prior investigation in 2014 involving domestic issues.
An active protective order against Groomer as a result was signed by a Tenth Judicial District Court Judge.
Detectives Carey Etheredge and Victor Kay assigned to the NPSO High Tech Crime Unit initiated a criminal investigation into the allegations.
The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations) was also contacted and began assisting with the alleged abduction.
KALB News Channel 5 Alexandria continued providing the NPSO with messages sent by the alleged kidnapper that provided valuable to the investigation.
On Saturday morning August 22nd at approximately 5:45am, Deputies assigned to the NPSO Patrol and Criminal Investigations Divisions along with Natchitoches Fire District #6, and the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office responded to a structure fire in the 300 block of Sisson Road near Natchitoches, La.
The residence was reportedly occupied by Groomer’s ex-wife and another unidentified individual.
Detectives say while speaking with the occupants, they learned they were awakened by a loud explosion then smoke and fire coming from the rear of the residence.
An occupant of the residence and a neighbor were able to extinguish the fire just prior to the fire department’s arrival but while attempting to extinguish the fire they observed several cylinders stacked under the residence which were believed to be placed under the residence to cause an explosion.
Detectives along with fire marshal’s office photographed the crime scene and collected physical evidence at the crime scene for analysis.
As the investigation progressed, news stations continued receiving messages from the same individual claiming responsibility for the kidnapping and bombing of the Sisson Road residence with the intent of harming occupants of the residence.
The person claiming responsibility was also posting messages as to why the media was not covering the bombing of the residence in Natchitoches.
Detectives began focusing on Groomer who had been convicted of prior federal explosive charges.
Detectives then learned that Groomer was not the victim of a kidnapping/or abduction and the abduction had been staged to gain the attention of his ex-wife.
NPSO High Tech Crime Unit Detectives obtained reliable forensic evidence during the investigation which led to sufficient evidence and probable cause to obtain criminal arrest warrants on Groomer signed by a Tenth Judicial District Court Judge.
On Monday afternon August 24th, at approximately 3:54pm, FBI agents arrested Robert Groomer near Ardmore, Oklahoma without incident on the Natchitoches charges and booked him into the Carter County detention center.
Robert Aaron Groomer, 42, of the 400 block Stolfa Street, Ardmore, La. signed extradition and was transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center by NPSO Deputies early Saturday morning charged with 2-counts of Attempted Second Degree Murder, 1-count of Aggravated Arson, 1-count of Manufacture and Possession of a Bomb and 2-counts of Violation of a Protective Order.
A Tenth Judicial District Court Judge has set bond at $1,000,000 dollars.
Detectives have also served multiple search warrants in connection with the investigation.
Groomer remains in the Natchitoches Detention Center.
Involved in the investigation and arrest were: Detectives Carey Etheredge and Victor Kay of the NPSO High Tech Crime Unit assisted by the NPSO Patrol Division, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office and Natchitoches District Attorney’s Office.
Detectives say Groomer was the subject of an ongoing investigation approximately six months ago when multiple news stations were allegedly threatened to be blown up.
The case will be turned over to the Natchitoches District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
Sheriff Victor Jones stated “I’m extremely proud our High Tech Crime Unit and the countless hours they spent gathering information and evidence in this investigation-it is evident that Mr. Groomer intended to harm individuals in Natchitoches Parish when he had been ordered by the courts to refrain from any contact”. “We especially want to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigations, KALB News Channel 5 Alexandria, and other media outlets that assisted and were patient with us while detectives collected essential facts and evidence to make an arrest in this case”.