NEW PORT RICHEY — Ben Bradshaw rode into the Hunters Ridge community in a red Honda early Sunday morning, shoved something into a mailbox and began riding away, authorities said.
Within seconds, a loud explosion came from the green mailbox. It began spouting smoke.
The mailbox belongs to Bradshaw's ex-girlfriend Regina Levy, 20, and her mother Elaine Levy, 54. Inside authorities found a plastic water bottle with a metallic object — the makings of a hydrochloric acid bomb, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
The Levys, who live at 5512 Redhawk Drive, were sitting inside when Regina recognized Bradshaw, 20, sitting in the passenger seat of the Honda Civic, whose driver and other passengers have not been identified.
Just hours earlier, Regina had gone over to Bradshaw's house at 11638 Belle Haven Drive to talk to her former boyfriend of three years, the sheriff's report said. They stood talking and smoking for half an hour before Bradshaw asked her to get more cigarettes from the house, then rifled through her purse, pushed her to the ground and ran away with $110 in cash, deputies said.
Authorities arrested him Sunday night and charged him with discharging a destructive device and robbery by sudden snatching. He is being held at Land O'Lakes jail in lieu of $60,000 bail.