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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Middle District of Florida

For Immediate Release

March 2, 2012

Robert E. O’Neill, United States Attorney

Contact: William Daniels
(813) 274-6388

Kissimmee Man Pleads Guilty to Osceola County Bombing

Orlando, Florida – United States Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announces today that Tyler Michael Allen Nelson (20, Kissimmee) pleaded guilty to possession of an unregistered destructive device. Nelson faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.

According to the plea agreement, on February 1, 2011, Nelson detonated a pipe bomb inside an automated car wash bay, at a gas station, on South John Young Parkway in Osceola County. Nelson had manufactured the pipe bomb a few days earlier from components that he had purchased at area hardware stores and over the internet. While no one was injured in the blast, the pipe bomb sprayed steel fragments and shrapnel in the area around the car wash. The force of the explosion was felt by nearby businesses and passing motorists.

On September 13, 2011, while investigating an unrelated burglary complaint, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office responded to Nelson’s residence in Kissimmee. After learning that Nelson had explosive materials in the residence, deputies obtained a search warrant. They subsequently recovered Nelson’s laptop computer, cellular phone, explosive powder, lengths of hobby fuse and two drills used to manufacture pipe bombs. A forensic analysis of the laptop and cellular phone revealed photographs and videos of explosions as well as internet searches on how to manufacture destructive devices, where to purchase components, and how to make both nitroglycerin and dynamite. Investigators also determined that Nelson recently had placed orders for supplies used to manufacture explosives.

During an interview with investigators from the Osceola County Sheriffs Office, Nelson admitted to purchasing chemical powders, cardboard tubes, and fuse. He further stated that he mixed the powders in order to create an explosive and admitted that he had manufactured and detonated three pipe bombs, including the one at the gas station in February. Nelson explained that he had built the destructive devices because of his fascination with fireworks and explosions. A records check of the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record by federal agents showed that Nelson never has received permission to construct and possess any destructive device as would be required under federal law.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.

It is another case prosecuted as a part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods program – a nationwide, gun-violence reduction strategy led by ATF. United States Attorney Robert E. O’Neill, along with Virginia O’Brien, Special Agent in Charge, ATF, is coordinating the Project Safe Neighborhoods effort here in the Middle District of Florida in cooperation with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.