Would-Be Airport Bomber ID'd by Love of Discounts: Cops

Michael Estes allegedly left improvised explosive inside North Carolina airport
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2017 11:25 AM CDT
Would-Be Airport Bomber ID'd by Love of Discounts: Cops
Michael Estes   (Buncombe County Detention Center via AP)

The glass mason jar found Oct. 6 inside Asheville Regional Airport in North Carolina held ammonium nitrate and nails, NPR reports. According to WLOS, it also held a shotgun cartridge and was equipped with matches and an alarm clock set for 6am. Authorities say the man who allegedly left the improvised explosive device wanted to "fight a war on US soil." But it was his desire to get 10% back at REI that led to his arrest. Surveillance footage from the airport shows a man walking in after midnight and leaving a bag. Police found a new REI backpack containing tape, fuel, gloves, a piece of an alarm clock, and a gray spoon in the woods near the airport. Surveillance footage from Walmart and Lowe's showed a man buying most of those items, but he used cash so there was no name.

A man also used cash to buy a backpack and gray spoon at REI. Notably, he also used an REI membership under the name Michael Estes, and Estes was arrested in downtown Asheville on Oct. 7. The FBI says Estes admitted to leaving the bomb in the airport but claims he never set it to go off. He's had past convictions for assault and breaking and entering. Despite authorities noting that the type of bomb allegedly left by Estes has been used "in a number of terrorist-related incidents around the world," the story didn't get much attention nationally until four days later. Shaun King at the Intercept says there's a good reason an apparent attempted terrorist attack in the US hasn't made headlines or been the subject of a Trump tweet: "The bomb was not placed by an immigrant, or a Muslim, or a Mexican. It was placed there by a good ol’ white man." (More terrorist attack stories.)

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