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Police: Houston man arrested planting bomb at Confederate statue

By
Allen Cone

Aug. 21 (UPI) -- A 25-year-old Houston man is accused of trying to plant explosives at a Confederate statue in a Houston park, federal officials said Monday.

Andrew Schneck was arrested at 11 p.m. Saturday at Herrmann Park after a park ranger noticed him kneeling in bushes in front of statue of Confederate officer Richard Dowling, acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez said in a statement Monday. A complaint was filed in federal court in Houston.

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Schneck was released from probation early last year after being convicted in 2015 of storing explosives at his parents' home.

Schneck lives about 2 miles away in the Rice University area, where police evacuated a neighborhood Monday morning after authorities found hazardous materials inside his home. On Sunday, law enforcement descended on the $2.1 million home where the U.S. Attorney's Office said Scheck had been conducting "chemistry experiments"

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On Saturday, authorities said the man had tried to drink liquid explosives.

The ranger, who reported the man holding two boxes, including a timer and wires, notified the Houston Police Department.

Federal authorities said one of two tubes on the devices contained nitgroglycerin and hexamethylene triperoxide diamine. HMTD, which is considered a "highly explosive compound," is used as a primary explosive. Nitroclycerin is a contact explosive in its purest form.

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Authorities believe the items could produce a viable explosive device, according to the charges.

Earlier in the day, several hundred people protested a Spirit of the Confederacy statue at Sam Houston Park in Hermann Park. The event also drew counter-protesters.

The Houston Office of Emergency Management advised residents in the neighborhood they needed to dispose of the materials with controlled detonations. KHOU-TV reported that FBI officials searched the home in Museum District neighborhood near Rice University from mid-Sunday to Monday morning.

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FBI agents had set up a blue tent on the front lawn and an agent wheeled a large plastic bin, labeled "sample collection," toward the roped-off house. They did not provide details.

Four years ago, the FBI raided the same home looking for picric acid, a military-grade explosive.

Schneck was sentenced to five years probation after pleading guilty in federal court to knowingly storing high explosives. In 2016, a judge released him from probation ahead of schedule.

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