Big boom could land amateur bomb maker in huge trouble

1:46 PM, Jan 15, 2008   |    comments
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It may have started as a goofy stunt, but tonight a 30 year old Red Wing area man is in hot water with authorities, after detonating a powerful bomb in back of his home yesterday afternoon. "When you can take a steel box, a dump truck box, turn it into scrap metal and send it 1/4 mile away... that's a bomb," reasoned Goodhue County Sheriff Dean Albers, whose detectives are investigating the case. The suspect admits buying 100 pounds of an explosive material advertised as 'Tannerite' from an internet website. The compound is most commonly used by long range target shooters, who aim at 8 ounce cans and know they've hit their mark when they explode. The suspect's device was the equivalent of 200 of those cans. "He had placed it inside of a barell inside the bed of an old dump truck, and shot it it with a 50 caliber rifle from 300 yards away," explained Albers. The blast was powerful enough to rattle windows at Treasure Island, and trigger a high alert at nearby Prairie Island Nuclear Powerplant. Hunks of metal were discovered more than a quarter mile away from the suspect's property. An officer who responded to the scene reports seeing another bombed out vehicle near the remains of the dump truck, suggesting it is not the suspect's first attempt at manufacturing an explosive device. As disturbing to the Sheriff as what 'could' have happened, is the fact that such dangerous materials are just a mouse click away. "That you could go ahead and order 100 pounds of this, with the regulations out there, this day and age, you'd have thought someone would build a mechanism that would have detected someone's order this kind of amount." KARE 11 contacted the manufacturer of Tannerite, who confirmed he shipped ten cases of the compound to the suspect. It is certian both the 30 year old man 'and' the Tannerite website will undergo increased scrutiny, as agents for the F-B-I, A-T-F, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U-S Post Office, and the U-S Coast Guard have contacted the Goodhue County Sheriff. "I guess it's one of those things, you think you're doing it for a lark," said Albers, "You have to understand since 9-11 the impacts are alot greatedr than they used to be." Both local and federal charges are possible in the case.

By Dana Thiede, KARE 11 News

(Copyright 2008 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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