MIAMI, Fla. – A California man in custody for leaving behind luggage at two different places in Miami, which contained devices thought to be bombs, appeared in court on Thursday.
His wife showed up, too, and pleaded with the judge saying that her husband is mentally ill and needs help.
Anand Raja, 46, of Redondo Beach, Calif., faces charges of assault from pulling a knife on a woman at an apartment near the Venetian Causeway, where he also left luggage in her car that investigators believed had explosive devices inside. At a Miami hotel, investigators were called after he left other luggage that also contained what appeared to be explosives. He is also facing charges for possession of a fake bomb.
“There were bombs that appeared to be explosive but turned out to be fake,” said Kenia Fallat of the Miami Police Department. “We know that the luggage that he was attempting to take with him is the one that was left in the woman’s vehicle,” she said.
The Venetian Causeway was shut down Wednesday because of the items left in the woman’s car at a condo building nearby and American Airlines flights at Miami International Airport were disrupted as police took Raja into custody before he boarded a plane.
Vaishalee Raja, the suspect’s wife, told a judge: “My husband has bipolar disorder, mental illness, and he has been having a manic episode. He has never experienced mania like this. He has been trying to come home for treatment. That’s why I booked that ticket for him to come home,” she said.
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Vaishalee Raja said he desperately needs help.
“I am actively working with several healthcare professionals at setting up his care so he can be healthy again and be the wonderful father he has been to our 7-year-old daughter and a great husband to me,” Vaishalee Raja told the judge.
Meanwhile, five days before the assault and bomb-scare incidents, Miami Beach police were called to a hotel where Raja was staying. The hotel’s manager said Raja allegedly threatened a guest there with a knife. No charges were filed.
As far as Thursday’s decision by the judge, she agreed to wait to give Raja bond until his wife and their attorney can have him taken to a psychiatric hospital for treatment as soon as he is released. He is expected to appear again in front of the judge on Friday.