Arizona High School Student Arrested After Discovery Of Improvised Explosive Device

Tempe, AZ – Tempe Police have arrested an 18-year-old high school senior at Marcos de Niza High School in connection with an improvised explosive device (IED) allegedly found inside his home.

Around 2:30 pm Tuesday, an unnamed housekeeper – who wishes to remain anonymous at this time – found the unusual device while going about her routine cleaning tasks inside a home, located in the 1600 block of East Candlestick Road.

Although reports did not explain why the woman felt compelled to, she physically took the suspiciously wired unit to a nearby Tempe fire station to have it examined – in lieu of calling authorities to the scene. She was unaware of the grave danger she’d put herself in, but did the right thing in reporting it.

The local bomb squad was alerted by the firefighters and had the item X-rayed to verify its contents. As they feared, it was a valid and active IED – large enough to cause serious injury or death, according to Tempe Police Sergeant Mike Pooley.

After disabling the IED – and based on the statements provided by the cleaning lady – investigators descended upon the home and found other materials used to make improvised explosives, according to KSAZ Fox 10.

Thereafter, 18-year-old Joshua Prater was taken into custody, booked and charged for misconduct involving weapons and possessing a prohibited weapon. Authorities state the boy admitted to assembling the device, but said he’d done so nearly eight years prior and was unaware of its explosive capability.

Prater’s intent behind making the IED wasn’t made clear. The IED was made out of an empty CO2 cartridge, fused, and was filled with a low-grade explosive powder, match heads, and fireworks.

The boy’s parents believe he learned to make the unit from friends. The investigation is still ongoing.

Prater’s next court date is scheduled for May 15.

Depending upon the degree of the charge of misconduct involving weapons, under Arizona penal code statute for public safety title 13-3102, Prater could face anywhere from six months to less than four years in jail. Title 13-3101, possession of a prohibited weapon – such as an IED under subset VIII – could increase the terms of his penalty.

Given the recent news of the Boston city bombings, do you think Prater should face harsher penalties for keeping a live IED inside his home, regardless of the intent? Would you be concerned, if based on the account, your 10-year-old was making IED’s?

[Image via Wikicommons – recovered IED found and disarmed in eastern Baghdad in November 2005]