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23 August 2017, 12:42 | Colleen Roy
Parks and Recreation Department
A 25-year old man who allegedly planned to blow up a Confederate statue in Houston, Texas has been arrested, authorities said Monday, as debate raged in the United States over what to do with the nation's Civil War-era symbols.
If convicted on the charge of "attempting to maliciously damage or destroy property receiving federal financial assistance", Schneck could face five to 40 years in prison as well as a potential fine of as much as, 000.
Prosecutors said the bomb consisted of a timer, wires, duct tape and two types of explosives, including nitroglycerin, Reuters reports. Andrew Cecil Schneck tried to drink the liquid explosives when he was approached by officers, the police said.
The suspect, Andrew Schneck, 25, was released from probation previous year following a 2015 conviction for storing explosives, Acting US Attorney Abe Martinez revealed in Monday's statement.
His lawyer declined to comment on the latest arrest. Nitroglycerin is highly risky to transport or use.
A criminal complaint revealed more details about the park ranger's encounter with Schneck. "Nitroglycerin has been used as an active ingredient in the manufacture of explosives", court documents said.
The affidavit also says Schneck told them he had other chemicals at the home where he lives with his mother, who is quoted as saying he uses the house to conduct "chemistry experiments". Back then, the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched the family's home and found picric acid, according to government documents. After noticing a timer in one of Schneck's boxes, the ranger called police.
When the ranger spotted Schneck, he reportedly admitted that he wanted to destroy the statue, saying he "did not like the guy", according to NBC News. The motion said early termination was warranted because Schneck had "devoted himself to his education and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts from Austin College" and had "matured and his focus is no longer concentrated on high-risk activities". Residents near the home had been evacuated as federal and city authorities search for evidence.
At one point, they even brought in a special robot, normally used to handle explosive materials and homemade bombs.
Schneck was arrested Saturday night and made his first court appearance Monday. A detention hearing is scheduled for Thursday, August 24.
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