A Florida man has been charged with plotting to blow up Target stores in New York, Florida, and Virginia in an alleged conspiracy to send the company’s stock plunging.
Mark Charles Barnett, 48, of Ocala, Florida, was charged with possession of a destructive device affecting commerce by a previously convicted felon, according to the US Department of Justice. He faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison.
Barnett paid a man $US10,000 to plant at least 10 explosive devices disguised as food items on the shelves of Target stores along the East Coast, a federal complaint alleges.
He provided the man with the devices on February 9, along with a bag of gloves, a mask, and a licence plate cover to disguise his identity, according to the complaint.
Barnett allegedly hoped the explosions would send Target’s shares down, allowing him to buy the stock cheaply before an eventual rebound.
But his plot was foiled after the person he paid, who has not been identified, turned him in.
Federal authorities obtained the explosive devices and determined that they were strong enough to cause property damage and kill or inflict serious injury an anyone nearby.
Following a search of Barnett’s home, authorities found explosives and battery sources consistent with those used in the home-made devices.