building bomb found in Hastings search by John McLoone A man charged with making a bomb found on a Prescott street in August also allegedly made one uncovered in a search of a Hastings residence by …
building bomb found in Hastings search
by John McLoone
A man charged with making a bomb found on a Prescott street in August also allegedly made one uncovered in a search of a Hastings residence by the Dakota County Drug Task Force earlier this month.
Brandon Bleyle, 27, faces up to six years in prison and fines up to $10,000 for manufacturing the explosive device that shut down streets around the Prescott Post Office for several hours on Aug. 23.
The devices are described as “sparkler bombs” in the criminal complaint filed in Pierce County Circuit Court last Tuesday against Bleyle, who reportedly moved from Hastings to Prescott within the last couple months.
According to the criminal complaint, Prescott Police Officer Eric Learned “received dispatch information that there was a package/ item wrapped in red tape with a fuse coming out of it that was reported to be on the eastern side of Campbell Street.”
Two officers responded and set up a perimeter, shutting down Campbell Street at 9:55 a.m. on Aug. 23. At 1:15 p.m., the Saint Paul Bomb Squad arrived on the scene “and was able to neutralize the bomb,” the complaint states. The remainder of the “sparkler bomb” was collected for evidence.
Packaging of the explosive device was submitted to the state crime lab, and their “report indicated that upon separating the layers of tape used to construct the explosive device, five separate fingerprints were located.” Those matched prints on file for Bleyle.
The complaint states that on Feb. 4, a search warrant was conducted at a residence. “During the execution of the search warrant, guns and gun parts were located, methamphetamine was located and an improvised explosive device was found inside the residence,” according to the complaint.
The St. Paul Bomb Squad again was called to render the device as safe.
A man questioned at that residence stated “Brandon Bleyle came to his residence and constructed the explosive device in exchange for $20, a CD player and a flashlight.”
The man said “he communicated with Brandon about making the device via his cell phone,” and that Bleyle brought materials to make it to the man’s residence.
“According to the St. Paul Bomb Squad and Federal ATF Agent Nicholas McAdams, the explosive device was a real explosive device by State of Minnesota State Statute.”
The Marathon County Bomb Squad also rendered the opinion that the device found in Prescott was “consistent with an improvised explosive device under Wisconsin State Statute.”
Bleyle was taken into custody in a search of the residence he was living at, 803 Kinnickinnic St., in Prescott. He said that prior to moving to Prescott, he was living with his step father in Hastings.
During the interview with Prescott Police and ATF agents, Bleyle initially denied knowing how to make a sparkler bomb.
“I advised Brandon that I knew he was lying and that he has made at least two sparkler bombs. Brandon stated no that’s not true. Brandon then stated he doesn’t even know hot to make a sparkler bomb. I again advised Brandon that he was lying and that the crime lab had removed his fingerprints on the sparkler bomb. I told Brandon I know for a fact he was directly involved in making the sparkler bomb and wanted to know what he made it and what his intent was,” wrote Prescott Officer Kristopher Stewart. “Brandon then admitted to making the sparkler bomb and stated he made it just for fun, but he did not leave it by the school.”
“Brandon stated he has made one before and detonated it. I asked Brandon how much damage did it make, and he stated not very much. I asked him if he would hold one in his hands and let it explode. Brandon stated no. I asked him why and he stated ‘because I wouldn’t have any hands,’” Stewart wrote.
Upon further questioning, Bleyle admitted to involvement in building the device found in Hastings.
“I advised him that another sparkler bomb was recovered in Hastings during a search warrant and the occupant in the house stated he (Brandon) made it. Brandon denied this fact, and I again advised him he was lying,” Stewart wrote. “Brandon then stated he may have showed someone how to build it. When I advised Brandon that I was told he was actively involved in building the sparkler bomb, he admitted to helping the person in Hastings build it.”
Bleyle told authorities he used a fuse for fireworks purchased at a fireworks store in Prescott.
Bleyle said he made a total of three of the explosive devices, and that the one found on the street in See BOMB Page 3
Brandon Bleyle Bomb
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Prescott allegedly was in a backpack that was stolen from a Prescott residence.
“Brandon would not say whose house it was that he was visiting and his backpack with the explosive device and other personal property was stolen,” Stewart wrote. “Brandon claimed he does not know who stole it or how it got left on a street in the City of Prescott.”
Bleyle asked police, “What’s the harm in making a little bomb?” He told investigators “he was going to find out who took the explosive device and who put it by the school because it does not sit well with him that someone did that.”
Bleyle remains in the Pierce County Jail on a probation hold. He was formally charged with Possession of Improvised Explosives, and a preliminary hearing is set for March 2 at 1:30 p.m. in Pierce County Circuit Court.
In the Hastings incident Feb. 4, Hastings Police and the Dakota County Drug Task Force served a search warrant in the 800 block of 10th St. West, according to a statement from Hastings Police Chief Bryan Schaefer.
“Four individuals were located in the residence and detained. Agents began searching the residence and located a suspicious device that resembled a possible explosive device. Officers and agents immediately exited the residence and evacuated additional residents in adjoining apartments.
“The bomb squad removed the suspicious device for disposal,” Schaefer wrote.
Two men were booked into the Dakota County Jail on charges stemming from that search, Eric Andrew Hanson and Adam Freiermuth. Hanson was booked on multiple devices related to possession of the explosive device, as well as drug and weapon possessions. Freiermuth was booked on charges including drug possession, check forgery, domestic assault, trespassing and failure to appear.