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Press Release

Local Man Pleads Guilty to Placing a Backpack of Destructive Devices in Downtown Pittsburgh

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

PITTSBURGH, PA - A former resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of violating federal firearms law, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

Matthew Michanowicz, 53, formerly of Duquesne Heights, pleaded guilty to one count before Senior United States District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on May 31, 2020, Michanowicz knowingly and unlawfully possessed firearms, that is, three destructive devices, which were not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. Specifically, Michanowicz admitted that, on or about May 31, 2020, he placed three, unregistered homemade destructive devices in a camouflage backpack at 2 PNC Plaza in downtown Pittsburgh.

Judge Ambrose scheduled sentencing for Dec. 13, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of not more than ten years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Lieber Smolar is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation that lead to the prosecution of Michanowicz.

Updated August 9, 2021

Firearms Offenses