Police: Suspect’s roommates called homemade explosive a firework


Published: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 4:21 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 4:21 p.m.

While Gainesville police on Wednesday continued to investigate the case of a Gainesville man who had a homemade explosive device, it appears the device was not intended as a bomb.

Mason Scott Beuning, 18, of 3119 NW 4th St., was charged Tuesday night with possessing a destructive device, a third-degree felony. He also was charged with petty theft in a case that began at the Walmart Supercenter at 1800 NE 12th Ave.

“Investigators are still looking into it, but after talking to his roommates, they kept saying it was a homemade firework and he was afraid to detonate it,” Gainesville Police Department spokesman Officer Ben Tobias said Wednesday.

Beuning and Wolfe O’Meara, 18, were detained at the store on shoplifting allegations. Tobias said they were caught stealing BBs, flare guns and other items that could be used in the manufacture of an explosive device.

After interviewing Beuning, detectives determined he already had manufactured an explosive device. Beuning told investigators that the device was at his home.

GPD investigators joined by Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents and members of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Disposal Team went to Beuning’s home and found a cardboard tube containing black powder. The tube was sealed at both ends and contained a fuse.

Bomb team members determined that the tube had explosive powder and confiscated it for further analysis.

Tobias said Beuning told the investigators he built the device as a homemade firework and that he had been scared to detonate it.

O’Meara was charged with misdemeanor shoplifting and possession of drug paraphernalia.

GPD Chief Tony Jones praised the work of those involved in the case, including Walmart staff, GPD personnel, ATF agents and the ASO Bomb Disposal Team.

“In the wake of recent national tragedies, the Gainesville Police Department is taking no chance when it comes to explosives” Jones said in the news release. “The professional handling of this investigation by all involved parties kept Gainesville safe today.”

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