PAYETTE, Idaho – A woman who has been at odds with police over the way they listed her gender identity was arrested for investigation of rigging what appeared to be four pipe bombs to a propane tank at her home, torching her car then running naked along a rural highway.
Catherine Carlson, 53, was arrested Sunday after firefighters found the pipes on the porch of her trailer home in Payette, with a note warning of a booby-trap, authorities said.
About 50 homes were evacuated in the southwestern Idaho city when another call came in, reporting a car fire at a storage unit on U.S. Highway 95. The vehicle had been doused in gasoline.
Another call alerted police to a naked woman running down the highway, carrying what also appeared to be a pipe bomb.
"She's had some issues with the Payette County jail regarding her sexual orientation," Payette Police Chief Mark Clark told KIVI-TV. "During questioning, Carlson said she is trying to bring attention to her plight."
Carlson, who had a sex change operation in 1980, has clashed with authorities in Payette County over a 2007 traffic citation after they included her given name, Daniel Carlson, on some official documents. She wants to be known only by the name she adopted 30 years ago.
The pipe she was clutching at the time of her arrest Sunday contained only legal documents, not explosives, authorities said.
Carlson was being held Monday on suspicion of use of weapons of mass destruction, arson and indecent exposure.
She had not yet been charged and was expected to make a court appearance Monday. She hasn't been assigned a public defender.
Officers at the Payette County jail didn't immediately return a phone call seeking more information.
Since receiving the traffic citation, Carlson has been jailed at least four times for investigation of failure to appear for court-ordered community service, driving without a license and other allegations. Among other things, she objected to being held in a cell by herself, rather than in a housing unit for female prisoners, as she had requested.