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Press Release

Desert Hot Springs Man Who Allegedly Escaped From Custody Faces New Charges Related To Pipe Bombs Found In Coachella Valley

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

Grand Jury Indicts Fugitive for Possessing 6 Pipe Bombs Found in Palm Springs

RIVERSIDE, California – Federal authorities are seeking the public’s help in apprehending a man who was indicted this week on federal charges of illegally possessing pipe bombs that were strewn about residential neighborhoods in Palm Springs last year.

Edward Allen Costa, 48, was indicted yesterday on six counts of possessing unregistered destructive devices (pipe bombs) and one count of escape from custody. Costa, who pleaded guilty last year to being a felon in possession of a firearm, allegedly walked away from a “halfway house” in Rubidoux last month.

The indictment alleges that Costa illegally possessed six pipes bombs that were left in various locations in Palm Springs from May 8 through May 12 last year. Costa was initially charged in relation to the pipe bombs in a criminal complaint filed in June 2012, but those charges were dismissed to allow additional investigation. When that complaint was dismissed, Costa was charged in another case being a convicted felon in possession of a .357-magnum revolver, as well as 106 rounds of ammunition.

Costa pleaded guilty late last year to the felon-in-possession charge, and he was sentenced in January by United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips to one year and one day in federal prison. By August, the Bureau of Prisons had assigned Costa to a residential re-entry center in Rubidoux. According to court documents, Costa signed out of the facility in order to go to a state-run employment office, but he never returned. Costa was initially charged with escape in a criminal complaint filed in federal court on August 16.

Special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had continued to investigate the case involving the pipe bombs. That investigation concluded yesterday when a federal grand jury in Riverside returned the seven-count indictment against Costa.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

The charge of possession of an unregistered destructed device carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. The escape charge carries a statutory maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Costa is currently a fugitive being sought by federal authorities. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is encouraged to contact the FBI at this 24-hour number: 888-CANT HIDE (888-226-8443)

The case against Costa was investigated by the FBI and the ATF, which received substantial assistance from the Palm Springs Police Department and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. Also, the United States Marshals Service has provided substantial assistance in the effort to locate and arrest Costa.

Release No. 13-115

Updated June 22, 2015