Metro-East News

Man allegedly planned to bomb Alton home after he said resident shot, killed his aunt’s dogs

A Madison County man allegedly planned to buy a pipe bomb and throw it into someone’s home to avenge his aunt’s dogs’ deaths, according to federal charges.

Federal prosecutors on Thursday charged Paul R. Owens with unlawful possession of an unregistered destructive device.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives learned from Hamel police that a Madison County man was planning to buy a pipe bomb.

The ATF recorded a phone call where Owens said he wanted a 4-inch pipe bomb with hardened steel end caps and black powder. The bomb was to be between 1 1/2 feet and 2 feet long.

Owens said he planned to set the bomb off in the early-morning hours, while the person who he said shot his aunt’s dogs was asleep, federal charges say.

The ATF set up a false trade to catch Owens buying the bomb. The bomb, which the ATF made, had only a small amount of explosives in it, so if it detonated, it wouldn’t cause serious harm, according to the charges. Owens exchanged four morphine pills for the pipe bomb.

He was arrested just after midnight July 28, charges say, only minutes after he had traded for the bomb. Following his arrest, he told police he planned to put the bomb in the mailbox at the residence of the person who shot his aunt’s dogs.