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Man accused of making bombs

Published May 20, 2006

ST. PETERSBURG - A 53-year-old man has been arrested after an investigation found he was making pipe bombs in his home and trying to sell them, police said.

John F. Irvin IV was arrested Tuesday on a federal complaint of making and selling pipe bombs. When they searched his rental home at 1035 11th Avenue S, authorities found eight pipe bombs.

William Proffitt, a St. Petersburg police spokesman, said investigators did not find evidence that Irvin succeeded in selling his homemade devices to other individuals or organizations who used them. Each of the bombs could cause "a fairly serious explosion," Proffitt said.

The authorities learned of Irvin's foray into the pipe-bomb business in February. St. Petersburg police worked with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in a covert operation.

They arrested Irvin at his home "during a transaction," Proffitt said. He declined to provide details.

Irvin made the pipe bombs in his kitchen and the back part of the house, Proffitt said. Police say the pipe bombs were filled with gunpowder, and they also found other ingredients used for making bombs when they searched the home.

Irvin has been in trouble several times since moving to Florida, records show. In recent years, he has been arrested on charges of possessing drug paraphernalia, drinking in a city park and aggravated assault. Irvin is being held in federal custody.

Times researcher Angie Drobnic Holan contributed to this report. Abhi Raghunathan can be reached at or 727 893-8472.

[Last modified May 20, 2006, 07:28:13]

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