Ocala man planned to bomb Target stores
A plot to blow up Target stores one by one- starting in New York, down to Virginia and ending up in Florida.
Federal Agents arrested 48-year-old Mark Barnett of Ocala. They say he's suspected of masterminding a plan to place explosive devices in the Target stores with the intent of causing the company's stock to tumble. When it fell to a certain level… investigators believe his plan was to buy as much Target stock as possible… then sell when the price went back up.
ATF Tampa Special Agent, Daryl McCrary said "We know he wanted to hit that Eastern seaboard. Florida is part of that seaboard. I would have thought that potentially there could have been targets in Florida." And that his motive must had been financial, "the fact that he wanted to go to that extreme- raised our attention."
Federal agents say Barnett planted multiple bombs in empty boxes of food, including a battery operated detonator. He then offered an individual thousands of dollars to place them in the Target stores. Investigators say they've seized 10 homemade devices… sent to ATF's national forensics lab in Atlanta.
"Using those destructive devices in that matter could have been catastrophic for anyone who would have come into contact with that or even the retailer itself," McCrary said.
Agents were tipped off by the man they say Barnett offered to pay to place the bombs at each store. Barnett was already on probation as a convicted sex offender and officials say more explosive powder was found in his Ocala home.
Barnett is being held in the Marion County Jail and could face 10 years in prison.