A Central Florida man has been charged with possession of a firearm (destructive device) affecting commerce by a previously convicted felon after making at least 10 explosives and offering to pay someone to place them in several Target stores.
According to the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint, Mark Charles Barnett, 48, of Ocala, offered a confidential source $10,000 to place improvised explosive bombs in Target retail stores along the east coast of the country.
He disguised the explosives in food-item packaging, which he delivered to the confidential source last week. He asked the source to place them on store shelves from New York to Florida and provided the source with a bag of gloves, mask and a license plate cover.
Barnett thought the company's stock value would drop after the explosions, allowing him to acquire shares of Target stock at a low rate before an eventual rebound in prices.
However, his source turned the bombs over to authorities, where an explosives expert determined they could cause property damage, serious injury or death to nearby people upon detonation.
A search of his home backed claims he was creating explosive devices.
“The swift work of ATF Special Agents, Explosives Enforcement Officers, and other specialized violent crime resources foiled this individual’s plot that could have caused great harm to the public. Our Federal and State law enforcement partners played a vital role in supporting this investigation, and ATF will continue to work alongside the U.S. Attorney’s Office to bring this case to a successful resolution,” said Special Agent in Charge Daryl McCrary, ATF Tampa Field Division.
If convicted, Barnett could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. He is currently in custody at Marion County Jail for violating his terms of probation.