DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Alaska

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Bryan Schroder
, United States Attorney
Contact: Chloe Martin

Sitka Felon Charged for Illegally Constructing, Possessing a Pipe Bomb

Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that a Sitka man has been indicted on federal charges alleging he illegally constructed and possessed a pipe bomb.

Zachary Loewen, 28, of Sitka, was named in the indictment charging him with possession of an unregistered destructive device, unlawfully making a destructive device, and for being a felon in possession of an explosive. Loewen’s arraignment hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 25, 2018, at 11:30 a.m.

According to the federal indictment, on or about Oct. 4, 2018, Loewen knowingly possessed and made an explosive device, specifically a pipe bomb, not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Records. The indictment further alleges that, on Oct. 14, 2018, Loewen knowingly received and possessed a combination of parts intended for the construction of pipe bombs.

According to state court documents, after failed attempts at purchasing a firearm due to his prior felony convictions, Loewen began purchasing materials to construct a pipe bomb. On Oct. 4, 2018, near Herring Cove Road in Sitka, Loewen allegedly attempted to ignite the bomb with a candlewick fuse, but abandoned the explosive device after a failed ignition.

Loewen has two prior felony convictions in the state of Washington and was therefore prohibited from possessing explosives. If convicted, Loewen faces a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison on each count, as well as a fine of up to $250,000. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

The Sitka Police Department (SPD), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Sayers-Fay.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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