Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Public safety

Investigators want Tampa bombmaker held without bail

TAMPA — The pipe bomb maker did not make any threats, police say. He told detectives he was building bombs for recreation.

A day later, Tampa police said they are not taking James Lee Minyard's word for it. They have some of their top detectives on the case and are scouring Minyard's computer and investigating his past and associates.

Additional charges are likely, Tampa police spokeswoman Andrea Davis said Thursday.

In the meantime, prosecutors are working to make sure Minyard, 41, stays behind bars. He was charged Wednesday with six counts of making a destructive device and bail was set at $12,000. Prosecutors have scheduled a hearing for this morning to ask that a judge revoke Minyard's bail.

Minyard caught police's attention when one of his homemade bombs exploded in his hand Tuesday afternoon, blowing the tops off two of his fingers.

Doctors treated him at the hospital and, because police discovered six homemade bombs, Minyard was charged and booked into jail, where he remained Thursday.

Police say he was candid during an interview Wednesday, during which he told police he was merely making the bombs to prove that he could accomplish a challenging task. He had never finished school and wanted to complete this task, he said.

Detectives found journals in Minyard's home, at 1212 E Crawford St. in Tampa, that contained technical information about bombmaking. Police did not find details about his plans for the devices, which were made of chemicals and both PVC and cardboard tubes.

Police found no obvious signs of malicious intentions.

"Nothing jumped out," Davis said Thursday. "But that doesn't mean that we're not obligated to look into it deeper."

Authorities are analyzing the chemicals in the devices. The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are also involved.

FBI spokesman David Couvertier said Thursday that though investigators did not immediately see any threat to the public, they continue to work with Tampa police on the case.

Also, police said, regardless of Minyard's intentions, the bombs were dangerous, as demonstrated by Minyard's accident on Tuesday.

"We believe that any imminent danger has been mitigated," Davis said. "(Investigators) took the bombmaking supplies and are working to make sure Minyard stays behind bars."

Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

 
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