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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Vermont
Nikolas Kerest, United States Attorney
Contact: Media Inquiries/Public Affairs Officer
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Bennington Man Charged With Possession of a Bomb

BURLINGTON, Vt. — The U.S. Attorney’s Office stated that Tyler Hayes, 41, of Bennington, Vermont, has been indicted for possession of a bomb that was not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. A federal grand jury in Burlington issued the indictment, and Hayes had his initial appearance yesterday in Burlington. This afternoon, U.S. Magistrate Judge Doyle ordered Hayes detained pending trial.

According to court records, Hayes made the bomb himself and told acquaintances about the destruction it would cause if detonated. Hayes left the bomb in his former residence when he moved out in connection with eviction proceedings. Hayes took no apparent precautions to make sure the bomb did not fall into the wrong hands or detonate inadvertently.

The U.S. Attorney emphasizes that the charge in the indictment is an accusation only and that each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Hayes faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. Any ultimate sentence will be determined by the court and advised by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and the United States Code.

U.S. Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest commended the investigatory and collaborative efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Homeland Security Investigations; the Bennington Police Department; and the Vermont State Police Bomb Squad.

The United States is represented in this matter by Assistant U.S. Attorney Corinne M. Smith. Hayes is represented by James Valente, Esq., and Assistant Federal Defender Barclay Johnson.  

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities and measuring the results. 


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