FBI Manhunt for “Armed and Dangerous” PR Consultant Expands

A nationwide manhunt is underway for a San Francisco social media consultant wanted by the FBI on suspicion of possessing explosives. Federal agents say 42-year-old Ryan Kelly Chamberlain II is armed and dangerous.

FBI spokesman Peter Lee said Sunday that Chamberlain was last seen wearing a dark blue, hooded sweatshirt and jeans. On Saturday, agents searched his apartment and allege that he is wanted in connection for allegedly possessing explosives in his Russian Hill apartment on Polk Street.

Trying to dispell some rumors, Lee said agents did not find any ricin or other chemical or biological threats in the residence. But, Lee said, "He did possess explosives at his residence."

An FBI source told NBC Bay Area that crews found a chemical in the apartment that, if not handled correctly, can kill. The person may have bought the chemical -- which is often used in assisted suicide situations -- on the Internet, according to the source.

The FBI declined further comment on the intent or motive behind the explosive material in light of the ongoing investigation.

Chamberlain is 6' 3" tall, weighs 225 lbs and has blue eyes and brown hair, according to Lee. He was last seen south of San Francisco Sunday, driving a white 2008 Nissan Altima with a California or Texas license plates of either 7FQY085 or BX9M042. The FBI also provided a photo of Chamberlain.

Mark Mosher, creative director of San Francisco consulting firm BMWL, told the San Francisco Chronicle that Chamberlain was hired by almost every local political consulting firm at one point or another. As recently as Friday, he was chiming in on Mosher's Facebook feed about gun control and mental health.

Chamberlain, a Bay Area native, attended the University of Iowa before embarking on a career as a music journalist in Des Moines, according to his online resume. He later moved to San Francisco, and at age 30, made a bid for a spot on the Republican Party County Central Committee in San Francisco, an organization that governs the local party and doles out critical endorsements.

The past chair of the San Francisco Republican Party, Howard Epstein, has confirmed Chamberlain served on the Republican Central Committee in San Francisco before switching over to the Democratic Party.

Epstein said he was absolutely stunned.

“To have the explosives and all that is just totally mind-boggling to me,” Epstein said. “Well, I’m hoping that he turns himself in. I hope he doesn’t get into any more trouble. I don’t know what he’s thinking. I don’t know what he’s been doing the last few years, what’s going on in his head. I’m just hoping that this all comes out and nobody gets hurt.”

During the 2012 NFL season, Chamberlain was an independent contractor for The Chronicle and tweeted and posted links to Facebook to boost coverage for the San Francisco 49ers Insider iPad app, according to the Chronicle.

Most recently, he worked in public relations for several Bay Area tech, apparel and marketing companies.

The police activity outside Chamberlain's apartment over the weekend created a buzz in the neighborhood.

Crews wearing hazmat suits were seen going in and out of the building and people gathered on the roof of the building, according to a witness. More than a dozen bags of evidence were collected Saturday.

"Actually, as I was walking down here, I thought it was a film set," onlooker Faisal Choudry said. "And somebody said the FBI is here investigating, and they’ve been here since the morning."

Those who live inside the building told NBC Bay Area the FBI has taken at least two computers from the apartment.

Neighbors said they do not know much about the man who lives in the unit except he is in his 40s and works in marketing. They described him as quiet and polite.

"I know this person who lives in this apartment," Fechtar said. "It’s just kind of weird. He seems like a nice guy, and he probably is."

Chamberlain's warrant and affidavit are currently sealed.

NBC Bay Area's Riya Bhattacharjee, Kimberly Tere, Diane Dwyer and Vince Cestone contributed to this report. Bay City News contributed to this report.

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