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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Man jailed after booby trapping home with homemade bombs

Markus Fricke
Markus Fricke

A 55-year-old Eustis man is in jail after he reportedly booby trapped his home with homemade bombs he planned to use to blow up the residence and kill himself.

Markus Fricke, of 30927 Tulip Ave., was charged with six counts of making or possessing a destructive device and single counts of discharging a destructive device, threatening to discharge a destructive device, possession of a short-barreled shotgun, and carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.

On July 15, a woman called the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and said she had been staying at the Tulip Avenue address for several months and that Fricke had built several devices with the intent of “blowing up the residence.” She said he was awaiting a shipment of chemicals to finish building the devices, according to the sheriff’s office report.

The witness said she saw a 50-pound shipment arrive marked “Ammonium Nitrate.” She said this and Fricke’s statements caused her to flee from the residence and hide in a wooded area while she contacted law enforcement. Members of the sheriff’s hazardous materials team arrived and the witness confirmed to them that Fricke had been making bombs and booby trap devices and that he told her he was planning on blowing up himself, the residence and the entire street, the report said.

The witness gave descriptions of the devices and even drew a rough map of the residence showing the rooms and locations where she saw them. Based on the witness’s descriptions of the devices and chemicals, along with Fricke’s statements to her, deputies believed he was assembling destructive devices with the intent to destroy the residence and kill himself, according to the report.

Fricke has an extensive history of unusual and concerning behavior where it is documented he believes individuals live in his attic and trespass on his lawn. Law enforcement has responded to the residence numerous times over the last several years in reference to Fricke shooting from within his residence into the attic area, which once led to him being Baker Acted, the report said.

While deputies were talking to the witness, Fricke left the residence and a traffic stop was conducted. Deputies found what appeared to be a homemade firearm on the floorboard of the vehicle. The device was a metal tube that contained a 12-gauge shotgun shell that was activated with a trip wire, according to the report.

A search warrant was obtained and deputies went inside the home and found four functional destructive devices, all triggered by a trip wire. With three of them, the trip wire was designed to detonate ammunition in a tube. These devices appeared to be manufactured from everyday household parts, the report said.

The other device was a modified bolt-action firearm with the stock removed, leaving the action and barrel intact. Brackets were welded to the device to aid in mounting it, and the firing mechanism was altered so that when the bolt is in the closed position, the firearm discharges. A clear fishing line was attached to the bolt to close it should the line be engaged by a passerby. None of the devices were actively placed, but they were assembled, functional and staged for ease of access and use, according to the report.

Deputies also found a fuel bomb made out of an aerosol can containing carburetor fluid. The device had been altered with small explosive devices and a cannon fuse so it could act as a flammable grenade, the report said.

The witness described an incident when Fricke built an explosive device using PVC piping that he detonated in his back yard, leaving a crater. This was corroborated by the presence of a crater and statements by neighbors, according to the report.

A further search of the residence yielded a large number of firearms and ammunition, along with a significant amount of anti-Semitic literature. It is unknown if Fricke had any specific targets of interest, the report said.

Fricke was taken to LifeStream Behavioral Center under a law-enforcement Baker Act and later transported to the Lake County Jail, where he’s being held on $20,500 bond. He is scheduled to appear in Lake County Court on Aug. 15.

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