TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Citrus County man is facing a charge of making a destructive device – in this case, an egg-shaped device filled with black gun powder and wrapped in electrical tape, according to deputies.
According to Citrus County deputies, 53-year-old William Skaggs of Floral City made three devices that the sheriff’s office bomb squad found at his home.
Law enforcement officers said they went to Skaggs’s home on Dec. 20 “in regards to a bomb threat.” Skaggs was arrested a day later, on Dec. 21.
An affidavit from the sheriff’s office said Skaggs showed up to a home on Okeechobee Court asking for black powder. The witness gave him the powder and, according to the affidavit, Skaggs then put it into an egg-shaped container, a plastic tube or medicine bottle and wrapped it in “two feet of electrical wires” and black electrical tape. The witness said the device was about seven inches round.
The witness told the sheriff’s office that Skaggs “likes to put metal or nails between the electrical tape and the pipe,” but said she did not know if any “foreign objects” were wrapped inside it.
According to the affidavit, Skaggs then “began to talk about sticking the device inside the gas cap” of a man’s truck and was expressing a desire to “blow up” a separate man’s home.
The witness told deputies she convinced Skaggs to remove the device from the truck’s gas cap. She then returned to her home, thinking the incident was over. However, she called deputies about 15 to 20 minutes later when she heard more arguing.
According to the affidavit, the witness gave deputies the can of black gun powder used by Skaggs to make his device.
Deputies who interviewed Skaggs said he told them the witnesses were lying and “trying to get him put in jail.”
Investigators said they searched common areas of the home with the consent of Skaggs’ parents and did not find anything. The affidavit said deputies then got a warrant to search Skaggs’ room specifically and found several items. According to the affidavit, “one was a spray water bottle with an electrical fan attached, one explosive device and one non-explosive device were all recovered from the defendant’s bedroom.”
Skaggs was then taken to the Citrus County Detention Facility for booking and processing. During a second interview at the facility, deputies said Skaggs told them he “does build” or “make his own ‘firecrackers’ (devices.)” He told deputies the most recent one was made on Dec. 20, about five hours before law enforcement officers arrived at his home, the affidavit said.
Skaggs told deputies the device in his room was “active and ready to go” and that the last device he had detonated was a few months ago in an empty field across the street from his house, according to the affidavit.
Skaggs was charged with one count of make, possess or throw destructive device with intent to do bodily harm or damage property. His bond was set at $5,000. Skaggs was appointed a public defender and determined to be indigent.