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St. Cloud man receives stayed prison sentence after explosive device found in vehicle in Willmar

A man was found asleep behind the wheel of a truck parked beside the road near Willmar. When he ran away into a cornfield, authorities inventoried the contents of the vehicle as they prepared to tow it. They found what looked like a homemade explosive device, and it prompted a call to the Minneapolis Bomb Squad.

Randy Travis Frederiks.jpg
Frederiks

WILLMAR — A man whose suspicious-looking package brought the Minneapolis Bomb Squad to Willmar a year ago has received a stayed prison sentence.

Randy Travis Frederiks, 31, of St. Cloud, was sentenced Monday to a 27-month prison term which was stayed for 10 years.

Frederiks pleaded guilty to one felony in February in Kandiyohi County District Court. Four other charges were dismissed in a plea agreement.

Frederiks pleaded guilty to possessing an apparent explosive device when he had a previous conviction of a violent crime.

Charges dismissed included a felony charge of possessing the device with a previous conviction for a drug crime, a felony fifth-degree drug possession charge, and misdemeanor charges of fleeing a peace officer on foot and possessing syringes.

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In addition to the stayed prison sentence, Frederiks was placed on probation for 10 years and sentenced to 187 days of local jail time and given credit for 187 days already served.

According to court records, a call about a suspicious vehicle led authorities to find Frederiks sleeping behind the wheel of a truck parked along First Street North in Willmar. Frederiks said he was out of gas and waiting for a friend.

He gave his name and birth date to a Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputy. When the deputy returned to his squad vehicle to check for driver’s license information, Frederiks ran away into a cornfield. He was found and arrested by Willmar police the next day.

Before towing his vehicle, law enforcement inventoried its contents and found what appeared to be a homemade explosive device.

The bomb squad decided to dismantle the device on the side of the road. In court records, the device is described as 6 to 8 inches long and 3 to 4 inches in diameter, wrapped in black electric tape with a fuse coming out of the top.

Inside, technicians found multiple thicknesses of electrical tape, a layer of bubble wrap and an energy drink can. They eventually found a light bulb wrapped in electrical tape with a detonation cord, BBs and more than 6 ounces of black powder.

Based on the packaging and contents of the device, bomb squad technicians said they believed it was an explosive device or bomb, according to court records. When interviewed, Frederiks called the device a homemade sparkler and said he had made them before.

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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