Self-described “patriot” Mark Krause, a 40-year-old Arkansas blacksmith whose home was foreclosed upon, was arrested in Washington state on Friday and charged with placing a bomb made out of a Pepsi can in front of a polling place during the runoff election for the Arkansas Democratic Senate primary.
It allegedly started on June 8, the day of the runoff election for the Democratic Senate primary between Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Lt. Gov. Bill Halter.
According to an FBI affidavit, poll worker Kay Reed opened the polls at the Osage Baptist Church in Osage, Arkansas at 6 a.m. and found a 12-ounce can of Pepsi soda sitting by the gym door. She reportedly placed the can on the desk of the church secretary.
It wasn’t until the next day that somebody noticed wires coming out of the bottom of the can and called the sheriff’s office, which told the FBI.
The explosive Krause allegedly left at the polling station could have packed a punch, according to the affidavit from Little Rock FBI special agent Keith W. Frutiger:
The lED was built within a 12 ounce Pepsi Cola can. The lED was submitted to the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, where it was examined and analyzed pursuant to lED examination protocol. According to Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) Mark Whitworth who is an explosives analysts and expert with the FBI, the main propellant in the lED was flash powder, which is commonly found in fireworks and other pyrotechnics. Whitworth stated that the lED was capable of causing death or serious bodily injury had it functioned as designed. The bottom of the can had been cut out using precision detailwork, possibly using a machine. The main components of the device, described in the paragraphs below, were held in place via wax. When the Pepsi can was sitting upright, it was impossible to tell that it was an lED.
The FBI apparently didn’t have any leads until a separate tip came in from William Meeks and Johnny Lyons, contractors hired by the Rogers Land Company to clean out a residence at 37797 Highway 23, Huntsville, Arkansas in order to prepare it for auction. Meeks and Lyons had found some troubling materials, so they called the sheriff’s office, which called the FBI.
FBI agents “found part of a computer CPU, handwritten notes and other documents and journals, and a AA size battery that had the ‘skin’ stripped off,” according to the affidavit. FBI agents later searched through the debris from Krause’s home that was sent to a landfill and found some additional materials.
A cooperating witness who had lived with and had a “close personal relationship” with Krause spoke with the FBI. The witness said Krause “was experiencing financial problems and as a result had been traveling around and spending time visiting family and/or friends.”
That jibes with what Krause wrote on his MySpace page.
“I’m in a transitional period in my life. I’m a patriot. The government worries me. I have a nice shop full of enormous old machines and others I have made,” Krause writes. His favorite movies were listed as “V for Vendetta” and “Taxi Driver,” and he wrote that he’d like to meet Thomas Jefferson.
The cooperating witness allowed FBI agents to access Krause’s private statuses on his Facebook page, the affidavit indicates:
Then on June 8, 2010 at 10:25 P.M., Mark posted “perforated eardrum, with infection.” There were a total of 11 comments posted in response to Mark’s posting; one response by Mark on June 9, 2010, at 12:59 P.M. stating “actually, i think the infection damaged the eardrum. i had a pretty serious sinus infection that lasted a while and my ears got really clogged feeling. then an earache for a couple of days. then I blew my nose and stuff kind of gurgled out of one of my ears. the only thing i’m putting in there is antibiotic eardrops.”
On his Facebook page, Krause describes himself as “Just another crazy artist who squishes red hot steel.”
Here is a mashup of some videos posted in 2008 on Krause’s MySpace page of him shooting from a golf ball gun, a “birthday party machine gun,” and using explosives to launch an anvil into the air on July 4.
Here’s the church where he allegedly placed the Pepsi can bomb:
(Ed. note: this post has been updated.)