Army veteran gets 5 years for placing bomb at VA hospital

TAMPA, Fla. — A U.S. Army veteran was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for placing a home-made bomb at a Florida Veterans Affairs hospital.

Mark Edward Allen, 61, pleaded guilty in Tampa federal court in September to attempted destruction of U.S. property with an explosive.

Allen placed a hoax explosive device May 6 at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Bay Pines, near St. Petersburg, according to court document. Then on May 29, he placed an actual improvised explosive device at the same VA facility. A bomb squad responded and determined that it contained a 9-volt battery, electrical wires, an improvised initiator, explosive powder and a switch. Bomb technicians ultimately rendered the device safe.

Video surveillance showed that Allen had carefully placed the IED on a gate that controls vehicle and pedestrian access to the VA Hospital, court records said.

Several days after Allen had placed the IED at the hospital, someone called law enforcement and reported that Allen had been making other bombs in his St. Petersburg home. The caller provided one of the devices to the FBI. Approximately seven additional completed and partially completed IEDs were found during a search of Allen’s home.

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