Investigators hunted for a motive behind the Christmas morning blast that shook downtown Nashville and incinerated the bomber, identified as 63-year-old Anthony Quinn Warner, a tech worker and recluse who did not appear to have left behind any explanation for his actions. Investigators are pursuing the possibility that distrust of 5G technology — and phone service in general — played a role in his thinking, reports the Washington Post. Warner’s explosives-packed recreational vehicle was parked near an AT&T communications hub when it detonated. Conspiracy theories about 5G technology have proliferated online this year, with people trading unfounded claims that the relatively new system for mobile communication is spreading the novel coronavirus. Authorities said they have also gathered evidence suggesting Warner’s interest in other unusual subjects. “We’re at the beginning stages of determining the motive,” said FBI agent Jason Pack. “It could be weeks before we have a comprehensive picture.
If paranoia over 5G was part of Warner’s motivation, it would mark the highest-profile attack to date borne of conspiracy theories surrounding the technology. Already, 5G towers have been burned and workers have been stalked or threatened by people who blame the technology for the spread of the coronavirus, as well as other ills. While the theories have no basis in fact, they have gained prevalence this year as communication companies roll out service and as the virus continues its spread, said Imran Ahmed of the Center for Countering Digital Hate. “Think about what 5G and covid are. They’re novel, they’re relatively unknown and they’ve been promoted as game changers,” Ahmed said.