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Press Release

Man Who Detonated Explosive Device In Tampa Sentenced To One Year In Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge William Jung has sentenced Joseph David Caltagirone (61, Tampa) to 12 months in federal prison for possessing an unregistered destructive device. Caltagirone pleaded guilty on December 10, 2018.

According to court documents, on April 11, 2018, members of the Tampa Police Department Bomb Squad were conducting training on North 12th Street, in Tampa, when they heard a loud explosion. They saw a large greyish-white smoke plume several blocks away, rising above East Columbus Drive. Officers canvassed the neighborhood, eventually locating Caltagirone’s residence.

Inside that residence, law enforcement officers discovered PVC piping, a hobby fuse, and precursor chemicals such as potassium nitrate, air float charcoal, and sulfur. Officers also discovered an assembled destructive device resembling a “pipe bomb.” The device had been constructed using a PVC pipe, sealed at each end by PVC end caps, and an improvised initiator. The pipe contained Tannerite, an explosive mixture. Had the device exploded, it could have projected PVC fragments at high velocities in all directions.

Caltagirone admitted to having designed, constructed, and possessed the devices. He also admitted to having detonated an explosive device in the backyard of his residence—a house in a densely populated neighborhood just north of Ybor City and only a few blocks from a middle school.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Tampa Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Murray.

Updated March 22, 2019