Colorado man involved in COVID-19 restriction protests arrested for pipe bombs, feds say

Colorado man involved in COVID-19 restriction protests arrested for pipe bombs

LOVELAND, Colo. — A Colorado man who authorities allege had been helping to plan an armed protest of the state’s coronavirus restrictions was arrested Friday after four pipe bombs were found in his home, federal prosecutors said.

Bradley Bunn, 53, of Loveland, is charged with possession of illegal destructive devices, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.

A redacted criminal complaint filed in federal court alleges that Bunn “knowingly possessed a firearm, specifically, a destructive device” as defined in federal law. The device was not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, the document alleges.

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U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn said in a news release that the pipe bombs were found Friday during the execution of a search warrant at Bunn’s home.

“Separately, the technicians found two one-pound containers of .308 caliber cartridge reloading gunpowder in Bunn’s vehicle, which is a potential pipe bomb component,” the news release said. “Bomb technicians transported the destructive devices to a range, where they were successfully rendered safe.”

Court records obtained by ABC7 in Denver show that technicians also found unused bomb components in the home, including “galvanized steel pipes, end caps, shotgun primers, fuses and several bottles of smokeless powder.” The affidavit has since been redacted to protect the identity and safety of agents involved in the case.

ABC News, citing a U.S. official briefed on the case, reported that Bunn first came to investigators’ attention on social media, where he encouraged people to attend the rally scheduled for Friday. He urged them to bring assault rifles with them, the network said.

There have been multiple armed protests across the country by citizens angry over the coronavirus restrictions. There have also been threats of violence against essential workers, including the killing Friday of a Family Dollar security guard, who have attempted to enforce policies requiring people to

Bunn, who was arrested before he could attend Friday’s rally, told FBI agents he planned to use the pipe bombs against federal agents or any other law enforcement officers who tried to make a “hard entry” into his home, according to the affidavit obtained by ABC7 in Denver.

The affidavit indicates Bunn admitted to building the bombs but said that he didn’t know exactly what went into the devices.

“I don’t have a lot of experience in this. I haven’t done this before,” he said, according to the document.

He went into detail while speaking to a bomb technician, explaining how he filled the pipes with powder and carefully ensured no powder remained on the threads of the pipes or caps. He also described testing the fuses he used on the devices.

“When asked again if he had placed fragmentation materials inside any of the devices, Bunn answered, ‘No, I didn’t put any,’” the affidavit states. “‘I was considering buckshot. I mean if you’re gonna do a job, do it right. But because I don’t have the sufficient knowledge to know what interacts with what, I didn’t want to put coating on a ball bearing or something that would interact with the gun powder and cause some kind of chemical reaction I didn’t expect.’”

A brief by prosecutors asking to have the documents redacted stated that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Saturday issued an alert about threats the agency had identified against law enforcement officers.

The threats were in response to an arrest that had been made.

“DHS warned that a white supremacist extremist instant messaging group shared information claiming a quick reaction force was being staged in the Fort Collins, Colorado, area in response to an FBI raid, and that the group was inciting followers to shoot through their doors at FBI agents and local law enforcement officers performing said raids,” according to the motion. “Based on its review of online social media posts, the FBI understands this warning to pertain to associates of Mr. Bunn, and the FBI is taking steps to safeguard and warn agents and local law enforcement officers in the area.”

The brief says prosecutors sought to protect the investigators while also showing that Bunn is being treated fairly.

“Misinformation about Mr. Bunn’s arrest is being published online, and this information may be causing associates of Mr. Bunn to consider escalating to violence,” the motion states. “The government seeks to promptly correct and clarify that information and demonstrate that Mr. Bunn is receiving due process by immediately making public a redacted version of the complaint and complaint affidavit.”

A judge granted the prosecution’s request on Sunday.

If convicted of possession of destructive devices, Bunn faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000, Dunn said in his office’s news release.

Protesters gather at right outside the Colorado State Capitol on April 19, 2020, to protest coronavirus stay-at-home orders. A man who was helping to plan an armed May 1 protest was arrested that day in connection with four pipe bombs, left, found in his home.
Protesters gather at right outside the Colorado State Capitol on April 19, 2020, to protest coronavirus stay-at-home orders. A man who was helping to plan an armed May 1 protest was arrested that day in connection with four pipe bombs, left, found in his home. (Department of Justice, Jason Connolly/AFP via Getty Images)