GAINESVILLE, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – Two men were arrested – and one is facing a felony charge – after they were caught shoplifting what are believed to be the components of a homemade bomb.
According to a press release posted by the Gainseville Police Department, 18-year-old Mason Scott Beuning worked in concert with Wolfe O’Meara to try to steal several items from Walmart that could have been used for making a bomb.
The list of items they attempted to steal last Tuesday morning included flare guns, BBs, and what police described as “other items that could be used in the manufacture of an explosive device.”
Their theft attempt was thwarted when store personnel caught and detained the men until police arrived on the scene. However, when authorities began to talk with the suspects, the plot thickened.
“[D]etectives began interviewing … Beuning … and determined that Beuning had already manufactured an explosive device,” the release added.
Local authorities, as well as members of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office bomb disposal team, proceeded to Beuning’s residence. There, they found a cardboard tube containing black powder and a fuse. The powder was subsequently confirmed as explosive by bomb squad members.
Beuning claimed he was merely attempted to construct a homemade firework. However, Gainesville police are airing on the side of caution.
“In the wake of recent national tragedies, the Gainesville Police Department is taking no chance when it comes to explosives” GPD Chief Tony Jones said. “The professional handling of this investigation by all involved parties kept Gainesville safe today.”
Beuning is now facing a third-degree felony charge of possessing a destructive device. O’Meara, on the other hand, is only facing misdemeanor shoplifting charges, as well as one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, the release stated.