An Anne Arundel County man arrested in January for reportedly making homemade bombs in his house allegedly detonated an explosive device so powerful that it “blew off his pants”, reports The Baltimore Sun.
Todd Dwight Wheeler, 28, of Glen Burnie faces charges including nine counts of possessing a destructive device, nine counts of manufacturing a destructive device, three counts of possession of materials to make a destructive device, and possession of a machine gun for an aggressive purpose.
Investigators say Wheeler was creating bombs from chemical compounds, but his motive is unknown.
Federal agents have sought permission from a judge to search Wheeler's electronic devices -- including laptop computers, cell phones, thumb drives, a DVD drive and three cameras -- for images of Wheeler's bomb-making ingredients, the newspaper reports. Investigators also want to search Wheeler’s devices for information on testing the bombs and records of any purchases, instructions and recipes. They also want to search for text messages, pictures or other files that might show any co-conspirators or links to criminal or terrorist organizations.
According to an earlier Patch story, police and fire investigators found more than 100 pounds of chemicals that could be made into bombs—in addition to already completed bombs, firearms and manuals for creating explosives and booby traps, including "The Poor Man's James Bond" and "Ragnar's Homemade Detonators."
Court records quoted by the Sun said Wheeler admitted he set off five improvised explosive devices at his home. The last one was the largest, at 6 inches long. Wheeler told officers that it "blew off his pants.”
Investigators said Wheeler was in the process
of modifying a flare gun to shoot improvised explosive devices in addition to
other bombs. During the search of the residence officers located numerous
completed destructive devices.
Wheeler's devices were capable of "maiming, injuring or killing," said Fire Chief Michael Cox.
Police first learned of the bomb-making materials on New Year's Day after someone contacted authorities saying Wheeler was suicidal. His body is covered with burns, police said.
Wheeler is being held without bail at the Jennifer Road Detention Center, the Sun reports.