(Beaver Dam) A Beaver Dam man was found guilty Tuesday with possessing an explosive device. Chad Leitner entered a no contest plea to a felony count of Possession of an Improvised Explosive and Bail Jumping.
Beaver Dam police officers were dispatched to Riverview Drive around 2:45pm on February 27th to investigate a suspicious vehicle complaint. The vehicle had driven through the area for roughly 20 minutes, stopped a few times and eventually parked in a driveway on Kelly Circle. Law enforcement identified Leitner as the vehicle’s owner. When he was being questioned, authorities noticed a backpack which Leitner allowed them to search.
Inside they found a (quote) “silver pipe like object with a green fuse protruding from the center” and “two end caps on it.” The officer then drew his handgun, pointing it at Leitner who was taken into custody. The Dane County Bomb Squad was called to the scene and rendered the pipe bomb safe. The device itself was filled with two-inch finishing nails along with flash powder mixed with aluminum shavings. The Dane County’s bomb technician said the kill radius of such a device would be roughly 15 meters.
Leitner denied making the pipe bomb and told investigators that he got it from a neighbor in Fond du Lac who used them to blow up tree stumps. The 42-year-old said since he was a felon and could not own a firearm, a bomb was the next option for personal defense.
Leitner faces up to 12 years in prison. A pre-sentencing investigation was ordered and Leitner is due back in court on December 13th.