According to government prosecutors, a Florida man plotted to plant bombs in Target stores and the profit following the explosions by purchasing stock that he believed would fall.
Charles Barnett, 48, of Ocala, had asked a law enforcement informant to put the homemade bombs on the shelves of Target stores from Florida to New York state, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida said in a statement on Thursday.
“Barnett theorized that the company’s stock value would plunge after the explosions, allowing him to cheaply acquire shares of Target stock before an eventual rebound in prices,” the statement said.
A criminal complaint said the bombs were disguised in packages for pasta, stuffing mix and breakfast bars and delivered to the informant on Feb. 9. Barnett also gave the informant gloves, a mask and a license plate cover to conceal his identity from police.
The informant, a convicted burglar on probation, turned the bombs in to authorities on Monday, the complaint said. A search of Barnett’s house by federal agents turned up bomb parts.
According to an affidavit, Barnett offered $10,000 to a confidential source to plant the bombs in Target stores along the east coast of the united States, from New York to Florida. At least ten bombs were constructed.
“Once FDLE received the information we initiated an investigation. Upon determining the nature of the threat we notified and began working jointly with our local, state and federal partners. The arrest in this case demonstrates the importance of collaboration in keeping our communities safe,” said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen.
Thanks for keeping Florida safe FDLE Jax!
Suspect Mark Barnett was plotting to place bombs in Target stores.https://t.co/Hm8BA6sgcl
— FDLE (@fdlepio) February 16, 2017
“The cooperation between the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies involved in this case was instrumental to quickly identifying this individual and resolving any potential threat to the public,” said Charles P. Spencer, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division. “The FBI remains dedicated to working with our partners to make our communities safer.”
Barnett is also a registered sex offender and was on probation for a number of felonies including kidnapping, sexual battery, and grand theft, according to the complaint. Because of his probation, he is required to wear a Global Positioning System monitor.
Barnett is now facing up to ten years in prison if convicted on possession of a firearm, or destructive device, affecting commerce by a felon.