OCALA, FL – A man is in custody in the Marion County Jail after offering a person money to plant explosive devices in Target stores down the east coast.
According to an affidavit, Mark Barnett, 48, a previously convicted felon, of Ocala, offered a source $10,000 to place improvised explosive bombs in stores.
Barnett created at least 10 explosive devices, disguised as food-item packaging, and delivered them to the source on Feb. 9.
He then asked the person to place them on store shelves from New York to Florida. He also provided the person with a bag of gloves, a mask, and a license plate cover to disguise the person’s identity.
Barnett theorized the company’s stock value would plunge following the explosions, allowing him to buy shares before an eventual rebound in prices.
The source surrendered the explosives to authorities rather than putting them into stores.
An explosives expert determined they were capable of causing property damage, serious injury or death to nearby people upon detonation.
A search of Barnett’s apartment found components consistent with those used to create explosive devices.
He is currently in custody at the Marion County Jail on state charges for violating his terms of probation. He is charged with possession of a firearm (destructive device) affecting commerce by a previously convicted felon.