Detroit man injured by explosive device while possibly trying to steal marijuana: ATF

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 21, 2015 3:46 PM

By Ryan Felton

DETROIT (Reuters) - A Detroit man who may have been trying to steal marijuana was injured by an explosive device that detonated in a field on the city's west side, authorities said.

The 28-year-old man, whose name was not released, may have been trying to steal from a drug-growing operation outside a Detroit home, said Donald Dawkins, spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The man was walking through a vacant field at about 5 a.m. Sunday and apparently tripped an explosive, which appeared to have been placed in the ground to protect the growing operation, said Detroit Police Officer Dan Donakowski.

He suffered minor injuries, police said, and was taken to a hospital.

At least four devices had been placed in the ground around the home, Dawkins said. 

A man in his mid-20s, who authorities believe owned the adjacent home and had planted the explosives, has been cooperating in the police investigation, Dawkins said, but was not taken into custody. The bureau is expecting to bring an unlawful manufacturing of explosive devices charge against the man, who also was not identified, Dawkins said.

The injured man may have been simply walking through the field or he could have been "attempting to steal marijuana," Dawkins said. 

But, he added, "What he was doing is aside from the (explosive) devices. That's a big issue with us."

The devices were located in an area that could have been a threat to utility workers or children, Dawkins said. "It's a very dangerous situation."

The homeowner told authorities that he had a license to grow medical marijuana but the devices ultimately raise concerns "from a federal perspective," Dawkins said. 

The Detroit Police Department's bomb squad secured the scene and rendered it safe, Donakowski said, while the investigation continues.

(Reporting by Ryan Felton; Editing by Ben Klayman and Bill Trott)