A Florida man is in custody charged with plotting a bombing campaign as part of a bizarre investment strategy. Investigators say Mark Charles Barnett, 48, planned to put at least 10 bombs disguised as food items on the shelves of Target stores along the East Coast, NBC News reports. Court documents state that Barnett believed the bombings would tank the company's stock, "allowing him to cheaply acquire shares of Target stock before an eventual rebound in prices." The registered sex offender was busted after offering a man $10,000 to place the explosive devices in Target stores in New York, Virginia, and Florida. The man went to authorities instead, giving them the devices Barnett had provided and explaining the plot.
Prosecutors say the devices Barnett crammed in containers, including empty stuffing mix boxes, could have caused serious injury or death, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Investigators found more bomb-making materials at his home. Barnett has been charged with "possession of a firearm (destructive device) affecting commerce by a previously convicted felon" and faces up to 10 years in prison. He's already locked up without bail for violating parole conditions related to his disturbing past: News 6 reports he was on probation for felony charges, including for a 1992 kidnapping and rape of a math teacher in South Carolina. (Another bizarre criminal plot involved cyanide, a suitcase, and a priest.)