Mark Charles Barnett of Ocala has been charged with “possession of a firearm (destructive device) affecting commerce by a previously convicted felon,” according to a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.
Barnett plotted to bomb stores along the East Coast, which he hoped would force the retailer’s stock to plunge and allow him to cheaply buy its stock, according to federal investigators.
“An explosives expert determined that they [bombs] were capable of causing property damage, serious injury, or death to nearby persons upon detonation,” according to the press release.
“Barnett created at least 10 of the explosive devices, disguised in food-item packaging, which Barnett delivered to the CS on February 9, 2017,” reads the press release, citing the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint. “Barnett then asked the CS to place the explosive devices on store shelves from New York to Florida. He also provided the CS with a bag of gloves, a mask, and a license plate cover to disguise the CS’s identity from law enforcement.”
He also offered an unnamed individual — referred to as a “confidential source” (CS) in the documents — $10,000 to plant bombs in stores in several states, according to the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint cited in the press release.
Barnett was on probation and wearing a court-ordered GPS monitor for a number of felony offenses, including kidnapping, multiple counts of sexual battery with a weapon or force and grand theft.
“Target commends the law enforcement agencies responsible for apprehending this individual. As this is an active investigation, please contact the Public Affairs Office for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida with any additional questions” said a Target spokesperson.
If convicted Barnett faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. He is currently in custody at Marion County Jail in Florida.