11:42 AM
Don Mitchell Owens

It was an alleged bomb scare at Branson Landing that led to Don Mitchell Owens' arrest on February 18th, but it is a guilty plea to possession of a controlled substance and attempted stealing that keep the man behind bars.

Owens, 35, pleaded guilty to the drug and stealing charges on Thursday April 15th.

The "bomb" turned out to be fireworks according to Taney County prosecutor Jeff Merrell. The prosecutors says Owens attempted to break into an ATM at the Branson Landing with the incendiary device after watching a YouTube video.

Court documents reveal that in Owens' backpack were several tools for breaking into the machine, as well as what looked like a bomb.

Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell

The Springfield Bomb Squad was called in after a security guard came across an abandoned backpack near an ATM on the landing and called police.

A security guard saw Owens and his girlfriend near the fountain and an ATM machine just after midnight, Branson's public communications director Jerry Adams the day of the incident. He says the guard followed the pair into the Hilton Promenade Hotel and identified them from surveillance footage from the hotel.

A night auditor told police that they recognized the pair who were guests at the hotel and gave police their room number. When a search of the room was was conducted the meth was found stuffed in a coffee cup in the couples room, according to the probable cause statement. The girlfriend was never charged in the incident.

Owens, who has been charged as a prior and persistent drug offender, could receive up to 15 years in prison for the drug charge, and up to 7 years on the stealing charge.

Owens is also facing drug related charges in Florida. A warrant was issued for his arrest there after he failed to appear in court.