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Benson man faces charges for possession of explosive device

Randy Travis Frederiks.jpg
Frederiks

WILLMAR — Randy Frederiks of Benson is facing three felonies after a call about a suspicious vehicle led to a trip to Willmar for the Minneapolis Bomb Squad.

Bomb squad technicians dismantled an apparent explosive device Monday evening on First Street North just outside the Willmar city limits.

Frederiks, 31, made his first appearance Thursday in Kandiyohi County District Court. Bail was set at $20,000 for release without conditions and $5,000 for release with conditions.

Two of the felony charges are for a person with a previous violent crime conviction or a controlled substance crime conviction possessing an explosive/incendiary device. Frederiks also faces a felony drug possession charge and misdemeanor charges for fleeing an officer on foot and for possession of syringes.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Sept. 26.

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A Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputy was dispatched Monday afternoon after a caller reported a suspicious vehicle parked along First Street North with a man sleeping behind the wheel.

According to court records, the person behind the wheel was Frederiks, who said he had run out of gas and was waiting for a friend. He gave his name and birth date to the deputy, who returned to his squad vehicle to run a computer check.

While the deputy was at his squad, Frederiks allegedly ran away and into a cornfield east of the road. He was located and arrested by Willmar police the next day.

When he was interviewed Wednesday, Frederiks said the borrowed truck he was driving ran out of gas while he was returning it to Willmar. He said he ran because he was frightened and was using methamphetamine at the time.

During an inventory of the vehicle before it was towed, authorities found what appeared to be a homemade explosive device. It was 6 to 8 inches long and 3 to 4 inches in diameter, wrapped in black electrical tape with a fuse coming out of the top, according to the criminal complaint.

The bomb squad arrived in the late afternoon and decided to dismantle the device at the site on the side of the road.

As they unwrapped multiple layers of thick electrical tape, technicians found a layer of bubble wrap, an energy drink can and other items until they came to a light bulb, also wrapped in electrical tape, according to the description in court records.

Inside the light bulb was a detonation cord, BBs and 178.4 grams of black powder. Dryer sheets were stuffed into the top.

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Based on the packaging of the device and its contents, bomb squad technicians said they believed it was an explosive device or bomb, according to court records.

Frederiks told authorities the device was a homemade sparkler and said he had made them before.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTS
In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
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