by: Mike Manzoni, WFTV.com Updated:
OCALA, Fla. - A Florida man is accused of conspiring to bomb Target stores from New York to Florida in order to cheaply buy stocks.
Federal investigators said Mark Charles Barnett, 48, of Ocala, offered someone $10,000 to put homemade bombs in the stores.
According to a criminal complaint, the unnamed family member received 10 homemade bombs, which were disguised in food packaging, last week and called a probation officer, who called law enforcement.
Federal prosecutors said Barnett also provided the confidential source gloves, a mask and a license plate cover.
Investigators said the suspect thought the explosions would make Target stocks plummet, which would let him buy cheap shares that he would sell for a profit once the stock prices rebounded.
Investigators used the person whom Barnett asked to do the job to get more information about Barnett’s plans.
The confidential source used a recording device for the meeting on Tuesday.
When they searched Barnett’s home, they said they found rocket ignitors, M-5000 explosives and battery sources to use for the devices.
Officials said the bombs Barnett built were capable of causing serious injury and property damage.
His neighbor, Patrick Pitter, said Barnett moved in about six months ago and appeared to be a nice, normal guy.
"I'm speechless, really," Pitter said. "I'm shocked, to say the least."
Barnett faces a decade in prison on charges of possession of a firearm affecting commerce by a previously convicted felon.
He already was on probation and wearing a court-ordered GPS monitor for a number of felony offenses, including kidnapping, multiple counts of sexual battery with a weapon or force and grand theft.
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