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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 13, 2019

Florida Man Sentenced To Federal Prison For Building A Bomb And Placing It At The Bay Pines Veterans Affairs Hospital

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge William Jung today sentenced Mark Edward Allen (61, St. Petersburg) to five years in federal prison for attempting to destroy United States government property with an improvised explosive device. Allen was arrested on June 1, 2019. He had pleaded guilty on September 23, 2019.

According to court documents, on May 6, 2019, Allen placed a hoax explosive device at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Bay Pines, Florida. Then, on May 29, 2019, he placed an actual improvised explosive device (IED) at the same VA Hospital. Law enforcement agencies responded to the VA Hospital, and a bomb squad determined that the device contained a 9-volt battery, electrical wires, an improvised initiator, explosive powder, and a switch. Bomb technicians ultimately rendered the device safe. Video surveillance showed that Allen had carefully placed the IED on a gate that controls vehicle and pedestrian access to the VA Hospital.

Approximately two days after Allen had placed the IED at the VA Hospital, an individual called law enforcement and reported that Allen had been making other IEDs in his St. Petersburg home. The individual provided one of the devices to the FBI, and approximately seven additional completed and partially completed IEDs were found during a search of Allen’s home. Each of the devices was capable of causing property damage, personal injury, and/or death when properly assembled and initiated.

“The FBI routinely asks the public that if they see something to say something. This investigation proves to us the message is being heard loud and clear.  We are grateful for the individual who came forward with the information leading us to Mr. Allen. Their action helped save lives,” said Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Tampa Division Michael F. McPherson.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, with assistance from the Tampa Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Police, the Department of Veterans Affairs - Office of Inspector General, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the St. Petersburg Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel George.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated December 13, 2019