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October 09, 2004

For the Record...

This is NOT the Armorer's house [registration req'd, see Flash Traffic]. Among other things, I'm only 47, and I don't have any pipe bombs, nor do I have 43 pounds of black powder. While I do own booby-traps, none are set, all are on display, and are inert, anyway. In fact, I have nothing that is illegal in Kansas, in the Armory. I would note that most of what is listed in the article isn't illegal, either. To include the 43 lbs of black powder - though that much black powder might be subject to some regulatory issues. I don't know - I'm still working through the one-pound can I've had for 4 years.

But events like this are exactly why I went public with the Armory - first in a presentation to my local Rotary Club (of which the Chief of Police is a member) which was the Genesis of The Castle - check those first few pics. To show people that not everyone is a dangerous loon, and to not seem like I'm hiding anything, and to in a sense, innoculate the Collection. No, that won't stop a zealous LEO or Prosecutor from trying - but serves to make it harder. But I live in an area where that isn't likely. Assuming the arsenal's contents were fully-legal in Seattle, for example (they aren't) I might have chosen a different path.

The gentleman in question in the article apparently drew attention to himself when, somehow, he or a family member threw away a training grenade that had been modified by plugging the hole, and filled with black powder and fused. The local trash haulers found the grenade and apparently were able to deduce the residence from the trash that accompanied the grenade.

The difference? Intent. Just as you cannot tell if a person buying a car is intending to use it in a robbery, the same thing holds true of people like me, who have large collections of military stuff, and the manuals that go with them.

Posted on Sat, Oct. 09, 2004

Police find many weapons at house

Leavenworth man taken into custody after the discovery


The Kansas City Star

Authorities found a cache of explosives, potential bomb-making chemicals and a homemade grenade launcher in the booby-trapped house of a Leavenworth man Friday evening, police said.

Leavenworth Police Maj. Pat Kitchens said officers served a search warrant at the house after a day-and-a-half investigation into the manufacture of explosive devices led them to the address at 10th and Osage streets.

A 51-year-old man who lived at the home was taken into custody about 1:30 p.m., though no charges were filed against him Friday night.

The search of the house was slow and methodical, a necessity, police said, after, in the early stages of the search, they found the first of two apparent booby traps — a spring-loaded device that, when activated, might fire a shotgun. Both, it turned out, were inactive, Kitchens said.

When they were done, police said they had found 11 pipe bombs in a metal garden shed behind the house, rifles and handguns, 43 pounds of black powder, and the homemade grenade launcher.

Also, police said, they found a stash of chemicals — potassium chloride, sulfur, charcoal powder and potassium nitrate — and manuals covering topics including the manufacture of improvised land mines.

Police were still working at 9 p.m. to secure material from the house to safely transport it to a disposal site.

The 51-year-old man's wife and child were staying elsewhere Friday night, Kitchens said.

Kitchens would not elaborate on what brought the man and the house to their attention.


Posted on Sun, Oct. 10, 2004 Neighbor: ‘This isn't a harmful person'

But bombs, guns found in his home


The Kansas City Star

Neighbors on Saturday came to the support of a Leavenworth man who was arrested after authorities found guns, explosives and potential bomb-making materials at his home.

“My gut feeling is that this isn't a harmful person. He wouldn't go after anyone,” neighbor Teri VanderStaay said. “I'm sure he's not a big bad terrorist.”

Leavenworth Police Maj. Pat Kitchens declined to identify the 51-year-old man, who was taken into custody Friday after authorities found explosives and weapons, including a homemade grenade launcher, in his home.

Neighbors and the man's mother characterized him as a “good man” and a “good neighbor.” They said he lost his job a few days ago.

Kitchens said no charges had been filed as of Saturday. He said he expected no action on the case at least until Monday. The man was being held Saturday without bond at the Leavenworth County Jail.

Officers searched the house for about eight hours Friday, Kitchens said. He released few details about the case.

Authorities, including bomb experts from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, conducted the search Friday afternoon and evening.

Investigators found two apparent booby traps, one made from a spring-loaded device that might fire a shotgun when tripped.

Authorities also found 11 pipe bombs, 43 pounds of black powder and an assortment of chemicals, such as potassium chloride, sulfur, charcoal powder and potassium nitrate. They also found manuals about subjects such as manufacturing improvised land mines.

Kitchens said investigators still were gathering information about the man's background. He said authorities interviewed the man's wife, but declined to release any details.

“We have some information about him, but nobody called us up and told us he was going to go crazy or anything like that,” Kitchens said.

Neighbors said they doubted the man was a threat.

“I don't think (he) would do anything to harm children or anybody,” said William Combs, who has lived next door to the man and his wife for 17 years. “He's a good man, a good father.”

The man lived in a white house on the north side of Leavenworth near 10th and Osage streets. He recently covered the house with siding and added a deck in the back, neighbors said. A U.S. flag flew from the porch on Saturday.

Combs said his neighbor reloaded ammunition as a side business, and a sign in the window said “Custom reload.” A woman who identified herself as the man's mother said he had a license to do such work

VanderStaay said she could believe the man had set booby traps to combat crime in the area. She said that houses and vehicles had been broken into and that neighbors had found syringes in an alleyway.

VanderStaay and Combs said there was a drug house in the neighborhood.

The man's mother said he had lost his job a few days earlier but was not unusually distraught about it. She'd spoken with him Friday before police came to the house.

“He wasn't in any state of mind to blow up anything, for heaven's sake,” the woman said. “I don't think anything would have happened.”

To reach Brad Cooper, call

(816) 234-7724 or send e-mail to

To reach Mark Davis, call

(816) 234-4372 or send e-mail to

John | Permalink | Comments (2) | Gun Rights
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