Tom Lundborg was a teenager in the late 1970s when he worked under accused Nashville bomber Anthony Quinn Warner, who was a technician for an alarm company.
Back then, Lundborg’s father owned A.C.E. Alarms, a firm providing commercial and residential burglar systems, but was incapacitated in a car wreck. That left a young Lundborg and 20-something “Tony” Warner to run the business, and they drove to different sites to do burglar alarm installations and service calls.
“I worked with Tony as his helper. I kind of looked up to him. He was kind of a hippie. Had long hair, a Magnum, P.I. mustache,” Lundborg told The Daily Beast. “He was a smart cocky kind of guy. I rode around with him all day every day—during the summers, at least for a couple years.”
Lundborg said Warner disliked authority, loved smoking weed and claimed he’d just gotten out of the Navy. (It’s unclear whether Lundborg was ever in the U.S. Armed Forces, but records show he was arrested for marijuana possession in 1978.)
They drove around listening to 103 KDF, previously Nashville’s main rock station, and if Warner spotted a police officer, he’d break his silence to lecture the teenage Lundborg.
“I hate cops. They’re all corrupt,” Warner would say. “Never trust a cop.”
Lundborg said he spoke to the FBI about Warner, as authorities try to piece together a motive for the Christmas Day explosion which injured eight people and destroyed multiple buildings. Warner, 63, died in the blast.
Early that morning, a recreational vehicle registered to Warner detonated after playing a recording bearing a grim warning: a bomb would go off in 15 minutes. The RV also played the 1964 hit “Downtown” by Petula Clark, a song that opens with the words, “When you’re alone and life is making you lonely / You can always go downtown.”
“He was a little guy, the silent type, but nice-looking to girls … My dad would go to dive bars with him. He was popular with the females in there, you could just tell.”
A motive for the bombing remains unclear, though investigators are reportedly looking into whether Warner bought into conspiracy theories about 5G technology. Warner parked his RV next to an AT&T building before the vehicle detonated.
“It does appear that the intent was more destruction than death. That’s all still speculation at this point as we continue in our investigation with all of our partners,” David Rausch, the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said on Monday.
Authorities are also investigating why Warner, who was unmarried and didn’t appear to have any children, had transferred two of his homes to Michelle Swing, a 29-year-old music executive in Los Angeles. One of the quitclaim deeds was filed on Nov. 25, while the other was in 2019.
One neighbor, Rick Laude, told the Associated Press that he and Warner chatted days before the bombing, and Laude asked, “Is Santa going to bring you anything good for Christmas?”
“Oh, yeah, Nashville and the world is never going to forget me,” Warner replied.
Laude said he didn’t think anything was strange about their conversation and that “nothing about this guy raised any red flags.”
Meanwhile, another neighbor, who declined to identify herself, told a Daily Beast reporter that when a peacock was roaming around last month, Warner came out of his house to feed it. “My daughter was telling me that he was like ‘I want this peacock,’” the neighbor claimed.
Warner was known to have dogs, and it’s unclear whether they also perished in the RV explosion.
“I was extremely shocked,” Lundborg said of Warner’s apparently intentional bombing. “You don’t expect anybody you had normal thoughts about to do something so abnormal. My memories of him are very distant, but still, those were the memories I had.”
“I assume he was mad about something. You’d think he was, to do what he did,” added Lundborg, whose family security business is now called Symspire.
Warner was the elder Lundborg’s sole technician, and they worked out of the Lundborg family residence in Antioch, Tennessee, where Warner went to high school.
“He was a little guy, the silent type, but nice-looking to girls,” Lundborg said. “My dad would go to dive bars with him. He was popular with the females in there, you could just tell. He didn’t flirt a lot, but you could tell they liked him.” Lundborg said Warner had a girlfriend at the time.
Lundborg said Warner “betrayed” his parents and started his own alarm company, taking an A.C.E. client or two with him. But the business foundered, Lundborg said, because “he didn’t have the personality” to deal with customers.
The last time Lundborg saw Warner was in 2007, when the technician handled IT work for a Chevrolet dealership in Downtown Nashville.
But most recently, Warner was handling technology for Fridrich & Clark Realty. The business’s owner, Steve Fridrich, said he hired Warner four or five years ago as an independent contractor, and that Warner repaired the firm’s computers and set up machines for new employees.
Fridrich said Warner had other clients in the area but he didn’t know their names.
“Tony Warner has never been an employee of our company but occasionally came to our office to service our computers. Earlier this month, he advised us that he was retiring and Fridrich & Clark has not had any contact with him since that time,” Fridrich said in a text message.
“Upon learning that Tony is a suspect in the bombing on 2nd Avenue on Christmas morning, Fridrich & Clark notified the authorities that he had provided IT services to our firm. The Tony Warner we knew is a nice person who never exhibited any behavior which was less than professional.”
— with additional reporting by Steven Hale