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Jury: Ohio man guilty of placing pipe bombs on tugboats

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A federal jury has found an Ohio man guilty of placing pipe bombs on tugboats on the Ohio River, U.S. Department of Justice officials said.

Nathaniel Blayn Becker, 42, of Marietta, Ohio, bought pipes and other components of the devices from a Lowe’s store on four occasions, according to a press release. Law enforcement officers recovered the destructive devices from two different tugboats moving barges on the Ohio River in October 2021. Authorities believe the devices were dropped from a bridge.

Authorities traced the devices’ components to a Marietta Lowe’s store and were able to identify the suspect’s vehicle through surveillance video. Police spotted Becker’s SUV near the same store and arrested him.

After a two-day trial in the U.S. Southern District of West Virginia Court, Becker was found guilty of two counts of possession of an unregistered destructive device and two counts of placement of a destructive device on a vessel.

Becker faces up to 60 years in prison. He is scheduled for sentencing in August.