Home Finally Sells, Despite Booby Trap Warning

Officials had some trouble offloading Ed and Elaine Brown's compound
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2015 6:28 PM CDT
Home Finally Sells, Despite Booby Trap Warning
This Jan. 7, 2007 file photo shows the home of Ed and Elaine Brown in Plainfield, NH.   (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

Two New Hampshire properties finally sold at auction Thursday, despite the fact that they may be booby-trapped. The Christian Science Monitor has the backstory: A 6,000-square-foot house on a 100-acre property, plus a nearby dental office, were owned by Ed and Elaine Brown, who were convicted of tax evasion but managed to fend off federal agents during a nine-month standoff that finally ended with their arrests in 2007. During that standoff, they amassed an arsenal of weapons and explosives and claimed their compound was booby-trapped. There was an auction last year, but federal agents couldn't guarantee the property was booby-trap-free, and no one bought either property. At that time, the compound was listed with a starting bid of $250,000; this time around, the minimum bid was slashed in half. A businessman, James Hollander, ultimately paid $205,000 for it, plus $415,000 for the dental office.

Authorities had been worried the properties might once again fail to sell; an IRS liquidation specialist told WMUR last week, "They can't guarantee that they have found everything, but they have done a good-faith search over and over again." The station reports that investigators did actually find explosive devices, and that a warning was included in the notice of sale. But WCVB reported Thursday that "the hilltop house and the grounds up to the tree line have been ... deemed free of improvised explosive devices." The former presence of booby traps isn't the only interesting thing about the compound: There's a turret with a tower that offers a 360-degree view of the property; a hidden door that leads to an underground bunker and an escape route to the outside via manhole; and, as the house was built over an existing house, in one section you can see that a floor was built atop the old house's roof. (A pot farmer's own booby trap led to his demise.)

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