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Press Release

Wilder Man Sentenced for Possession of Unregistered Explosive Device

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

Burlington, Vermont - The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that on February 16, 2023, William Hillard, 51, of Wilder, Vermont, was sentenced in United States District Court in Burlington, Vermont to serve 32 months in prison after his guilty plea to one count of possession of an unregistered explosive device.  U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss also ordered Hillard to serve a three-year term of supervised release and to pay a $100 special assessment.

In April 2022, a confidential source (CS) reported to the Hartford, Vermont Police Department (Hartford PD) that Hillard possessed explosive devices (bombs) at his residence in Wilder, Vermont.  The CS provided Hartford PD one bomb that the CS said was made by Hillard.  Hartford PD obtained a warrant to search the residence and on April 5, 2022, assisted by Special Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), executed it.  During this search, law enforcement found eight bombs, some of which had shrapnel inside, and bomb-making materials, including explosive powder, fuses, and pipes.  Law enforcement also found a semi-automatic rifle, two loaded ammunition magazines with 17 rounds of ammunition contained inside, and more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition of various calibers.  Hillard did not register the bombs with the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record as required.  In addition, Hillard had previously been convicted of felony offenses and therefore was prohibited from possessing the foregoing weapons. 
U.S. Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest commended the efforts of the Hartford, Vermont Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the investigation and prosecution of Hillard.  

Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara A. Masterson handled the prosecution of Hillard.  Assistant Federal Public Defender Sara M. Puls represented Hillard. 

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.  For more information about Project Safe Neighborhoods, please visit


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Updated February 17, 2023

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Firearms Offenses