BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — On Wednesday night, 34-year-old Gregory Samuel Haasze’s affinity for explosives led to one of them going off, rattling a Boynton Beach neighborhood, police say.
That led police to some two dozen more deadly devices, which ultimately landed Haasze in jail.
No one is believed to have been hurt, police said.
Haasze remained at the Palm Beach County Jail late Thursday with his bail set at $130,000. That morning, Circuit Judge Laura Johnson had set his bail: $5,000 for each of 26 counts of making, possessing, throwing, projecting, placing or discharging a destructive device.
Johnson also ordered Haazse not to possess any more such devices or materials.
Boynton Beach police said Thursday the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had taken over the investigation of the incident. It was unclear Thursday whether Haasze would face federal charges as well.
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Reports of a loud noise at about 8 p.m. Wednesday called police to a field behind a shopping plaza off Boynton Beach Boulevard, a city police report said.
They found in the roadway a detonated bomb made of PVC pipe. They then found, and disabled, six devices along Hoadley Road, a dead-end street behind the Oakwood Square Shopping Center at Old Boynton Road and Congress Avenue, just east of the Boynton Beach Mall.
Each device had a fuse and contained explosive powder. Some were even more dangerous, housing metal screws, nails and metal pellets.
“Officers backed out of the area,” the report said.
The officers — along with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office bomb squad and fire-rescue crews from Boynton Beach and Palm Beach County — got everyone out of the shops at Oakwood Square, as well as apartments at the Poinciana West complex and homes along Hoadley Road.
They also shut down Old Boynton Road from Congress to Renaissance Commons Boulevard, as well as the south end of the nearby Town Center Shopping Center, near its Target and Best Buy stores.
While officers had been waiting on the PBSO bomb squad, the report said, a man came up to speak with them. He said a man named Greg lived in a 12-apartment complex just 1,000 feet behind the Oakwood center.
The man said “Greg” made his own explosives. And sometimes set them off.
At the complex, the report said, officers came to a trash bin. Atop it, they found a brown cardboard box. It was partly open and contained black plastic bottles and vials used for prescription drugs.
The box was addressed to an apartment in the complex. The name: Gregory Haasze.
Police went to the unit, and Haasze stepped out.
He said he knew he was the reason police were there, and said the box in the dumpster was his.
Later, at police headquarters, he told officers he has built explosives for years with material he buys off the eBay online auction site. He said he’d recently bought several for the Fourth of July.
The report said he admitted to setting off the pipe bomb that night, as well as three others earlier in the week, but said he wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. He said he loaded some devices with pellets to remove tree stumps from around his apartment.
Haasze told the officers that, when he saw police and others swarming the area around his complex, “he realized he was in trouble” and decided to empty his apartment of the explosive materials.
In all, police said, they found 26 separate devices in the dumpster and near the apartment.
Police said they reopened most of the neighborhood at about midnight.
Boynton Beach police said Thursday they’d had no other dealings with Haasze in the past five years, except one incident in which he was a witness to an argument. PBSO reported no dealings with the man.