Feds Accuse California Man of Stealing Dynamite, Driving It to Vegas, Storing It in Hotel

A California man is accused of stealing roughly 100 pounds of dynamite and other ignition materials, federal authorities announced on Tuesday.

Evan Ray Atkinson, who was arrested on January 4 and indicted on January 20, faces multiple charges, including theft, possession, improper storage and transport of explosive materials, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nevada. He allegedly stole the material, drove it to a Las Vegas suburb and stored it in a hotel.

Atkinson was charged in a six-count indictment, the Associated Press reported. According to the Department of Justice, if convicted, he would face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each count.

Neither prosecutors nor court documents mentioned what Atkinson planned to do with the stolen explosive material.

In a statement, acting U.S. Attorney Christopher Chiou said Atkinson was arrested at a Wyndham property this month. According to AP, court documents said federal agents seized 39 sticks of dynamite, a detonating cord more than a mile long, fuse lighters and ignition boosters from his hotel room, pickup truck and trailer.

After evacuating the hotel, law enforcement recovered the stolen explosives from Atkinson's hotel room and car.

According to AP, the items were stolen on December 24 from a Kinkaid Mill explosive locker near Hawthorne, Nevada.

A motorist first noticed a red pickup truck and trailer outside the company along U.S. Route 95 near Hawthorne, Nevada. AP reported that a federal Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent noted in the report that a woman on the highway remembered seeing a red pickup truck attached to a white trailer on the property, providing a critical clue into the investigation.

According to court documents, investigators matched cellphone location records and Atkinson's maroon Chevrolet to the vehicle described by the motorist.

Atkinson made his initial court appearance on Monday, records show. His attorney, Richard Schonfeld, said he pleaded not guilty. He was released without bond but ordered to remain at home with GPS monitoring.

Newsweek reached out to Schonfeld for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

KLAS-TV reported several police agencies contributed to the investigation, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI, the Mineral County Sheriff's Office, the Henderson Police Department and the Las Vegas Metro Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Andolyn Johnson is prosecuting the case, and Atkinson's trial is scheduled for March 28 and will be heard by Chief U.S. District Judge Miranda Du, the Justice Department said.

The AP said that Atkinson lists his home address in Manhattan Beach, California.

Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Nevada
A California man allegedly stole roughly 100 pounds of dynamite and other ignition materials, drove it to a Las Vegas suburb and stored it in a hotel. Sion Touhig/Sygma/Sygma/Getty Images