Florida army veteran, 60, who planted home-made explosive device at VA hospital arrested, faces 10 years in prison

Florida army veteran, 60, who planted home-made explosive device at VA hospital arrested, faces 10 years in prison
(Source : Police Department)

An army veteran has been arrested after he allegedly made and placed an improvised explosive device (IED) at a Veterans Affairs Hospital in Florida.

According to a press release by the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Middle District of Florida, 60-year-old Mark Edward Allen, of St. Petersburg, has been charged by a federal criminal complaint for the possession of unregistered explosive devices.

The criminal complaint states that, on or about Wednesday, May 29, 2019, Allen placed an IED at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Bay Pines, Florida, with law enforcement personnel from the FBI, the Tampa Police Department, and other agencies responding to the scene.

A bomb squad determined that the device contained a "9-volt battery, electrical wires, an improvised initiator, an unknown powder, and a clothespin switch" before rendering the device safe.

NBC reported that, two days later, Allen's wife called the police to report that he had made another bomb, this time at their home.

She loaded it into her trunk while he was sleeping and brought it to a friend's house.

This individual called law enforcement to report that Allen had been making other explosive devices at his home.

The criminal complaint detailed that this particular device contained "electrical wires, an unknown black powder, and light-bulb initiator." It states that the bomb technicians determined it was safe and that "the St. Pete IED and the VA Hospital IED likely came from the same person." 

Neither of the "destructive devices" was registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, as required by law.

Ultimately, the FBI determined that Allen was responsible for both devices after surveillance footage at the VA hospital showed him placing the IED at the scene, and his wife identified him in additional surveillance footage that showed him coming out of a Wawa across the street from the hospital.


She told investigators that the 60-year-old is an Army veteran himself and that he frequents the Bay Pines VA hospital. She also said he had appointments scheduled there during the week of May 27.

Allen made his first appearance in court on June 4, 2019, and is currently being held at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. If convicted of the charges, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.

The press release stated that the case is being investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Tampa Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Police, the Department of Veterans Affairs — Office of Inspector General, and the St. Petersburg Police Department.


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