PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida man was arrested early Wednesday morning after allegedly threatening to blow up a dam in Putnam County.
Deputies responded to a report of a man with a bomb on the Rodman Dam at 9:00 p.m., according to a post on the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. The dam is located in a rural area southwest of Palatka on Lake Ocklawaha.
When deputies arrived, they found Robert Charles Jeffers, 36, standing on top of the dam. The sheriff’s office said Jeffers was holding an object in his hand that was connected by wires to his backpack.
Jeffers told deputies that if he “let go of what was in his hand, we’re all going to die,” according to the Facebook post. He also allegedly claimed to have “30 pounds of C4 and 2 grams of Plutonium” in his backpack, according to a report from WTLV.
Officials evacuated the dam and shut down the road that runs over it. Putnam County SWAT was called in, along with the bomb squad from neighboring St. Johns County.
The sheriff’s office said Jeffers appeared to fall asleep at one point during the 6-hour standoff and was awakened by the bomb squad’s robot. He began following deputies’ commands and stepped away from his backpack, deputies said.
Jeffers stopped responding to deputies, according to the sheriff’s office. They shot him with 40 mm “less lethal” rounds and took him into custody at 2:50 a.m.
The bomb squad determined there were no explosives in the backpack. K9s searched the area around the dam and also found no evidence of a bomb.
Jeffers, who is from Ocala, was booked into the Putnam County Jail after being medically cleared by HCA Florida Putnam Hospital. He was charged with false reporting a bomb or explosive weapon of mass destruction, committing a hoax involving a weapon of mass destruction, threatening to discharge a destructive device and resisting an officer without violence.
At the time of the incident, Jeffers was out on bond for a similar alleged offense. He allegedly tried to use propane to blow up his mother’s home in Nov. 2022, according to WTLV.
“Due to the nature of the incident, upon arrival to the jail, mental health protocols were initiated to evaluate and begin services,” the sheriff’s office wrote.
Jeffers is being held without bond.