Florida man made explosives, wanted to blow up Target stores to buy cheap stock: Feds

An Ocala man made at least 10 explosive devices in hopes of blowing up Targets along the East Coast in an elaborate and deadly scheme to buy cheap stocks of the company, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Mark Charles Barnett, 48, was charged with possession or a possession of a destructive device affecting commerce by a previously convicted felon. 

He faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison. 

Barnett concocted a plan to place explosives disguised as food items in Target stores along the East Coast from Florida to New York, thinking the plot would cause stock prices for the retail-store giant to plummet and he could buy cheap shares of the company before they rebound, a federal complaint alleges. 

He paid a man $10,000 to place the bombs on shelves, the complaint said. 

On Feb. 9, Barnett gave the man at least 10 explosives, a bag of gloves, a mask and a license-plate cover, which would be used to cover up the man’s identity, prosecutors said. 

But before the plan moved forward, the man went to the authorities and gave them the bombs and explained Barnett’s plan, federal agents said. 

The bombs could have caused property damage, and serious injury or death to those nearby, prosecutors said. Agents also found bomb-making materials in Barnett’s home, records show. 

Barnett is being held in the Marion County Jail for nine parole violations. 

“The cooperation between the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies involved in this case was instrumental to quickly identifying this individual and resolving any potential threat to the public,” said Charles Spencer, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division.

chayes@orlandosentinel.com

Twitter: @journo_christal

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