"Bomb house" convict gets 30 years for bank robberies

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 14, 2011 2:58 AM
"Bomb house" convict gets 30 years for bank robberies

By Marty Graham

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A jobless software engineer whose San Diego-area house was found so packed with explosives that it had to be burned down was sentenced on Monday to 30 years in federal prison for two bank robberies.

George Jakubec, 55, pleaded guilty in March to brandishing a gun while holding up two Bank of America branches, earning him a mandatory 30-year prison term. He said nothing during the sentencing before U.S. District Judge Larry Burns.

As part of his plea deal, federal prosecutors had agreed to dismiss five other charges against Jakubec, including one count of possessing explosive devices and one count of illegally manufacturing explosives.

But he admitted in court to possession of explosives and the materials to make them, as well as to committing two additional bank robberies, while verifying the plea agreement in March.

Federal investigators uncovered evidence linking him to the robberies in November after the rented house he shared with his spouse and a dog named Spike was found stuffed floor to ceiling with high explosives, bomb-making chemicals, homemade grenades, guns and ammunition, mixed with paper and other debris.

In court filings, federal prosecutors indicated there was no evidence that Jakubec, a native of Serbia, was involved with any terrorist groups, and they found nothing to suggest he planned to use the explosives against people or other targets.

Why Jakubec collected them remains a mystery.

Jakubec and his "bomb house" in suburban Escondido came to the attention of authorities when a gardener working on the property was injured by an explosion.

Rather than risk setting off another blast by trying to remove the volatile contents and process the house as a crime scene, authorities burned the home to the ground on December 9.

State prosecutors said Jakubec's home ranked as the largest cache of home-made explosives ever found in the United States.

(Editing by Steve Gorman. Edited by Peter Bohan)