It’s not uncommon to hold a grudge against a company for one reason or another, but a Florida man allegedly took his beef a step further with a plot to set off homemade explosives in several Target stores on the East Coast. Why? Authorities say the man wanted to send Target’s stock into a tailspin.
According to the criminal complaint [PDF] filed in U.S. District Court in Ocala, the 48-year-old Ocala man was charged with “possession of a firearm (destructive device) affecting commerce by a previously convicted felon” after he went looking for help with his alleged plot.
Investigators say he offered a “confidential source” (CS) $10,000 to hide at least 10 explosives disguised as food items on the shelves of Target stores in Virginia, Florida, and New York. The suspect is a registered sex offender on probation and as such, wears a Global Positioning Device, preventing him from carrying out the alleged plot himself.
According to the complaint, he made bombs at home and gave them to the source to deliver as “packages” of breakfast bars, stuffing mix and pasta, along with a bag of gloves, a mask. and a license-plate cover. Police say the suspect then explained to the confidential source that he would have to remove a rubber band on the exterior of each of the boxes to activate a triggering device that was inside.
“[The suspect] told the CS not to let the box bounce around or they would explode,”the complaint states, though he reassured the source they wouldn’t kill anybody they would “take your hand off.”
Why would he want to bomb Target stores? To cash in.
“[The suspect] theorized that the company’s stock value would plunge after the explosions, allowing him to cheaply acquire shares of Target stock before an eventual rebound in prices,” the complaint said.
On Feb. 10, the suspect gave the unidentified person $280 in travel money, but instead of leaving on the trip, the source turned in the 10 explosive devices to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
An explosives expert determined that the bombs “were capable of causing property damage, serious injury, or death to nearby persons upon detonation,” the complaint said.
Authorities found rocket motor ignitors, M-5000 explosives, and batteries in a search of the suspect’s home. He’s now facing 10 years in federal prison.