Florida man arrested after pipe bombs found near strip mall

A Florida man admitted to making more than two dozen bombs that were found near a strip mall Wednesday night, authorities said. The explosives caused a scare that led police to evacuate a strip mall and nearby homes.

Gregory Haasze, 34, of Boynton Beach, is facing 26 counts of making, possessing, throwing, projecting, placing, or discharging a destructive device, WPEC reported. According to online jail records, Haasz was booked at 5:27 a.m. Thursday, His bail was set at $26,000.

The Boynton Beach Police Department was originally handling the case, but turned it over to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms on Thursday, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

According to an arrest report, Haasze, “fully admitted the devices were intended to detonate,” the Miami Herald reported. Haasze insisted, however, that he never intended to hurt anyone.

The pipe bombs, made out of PVC, contained screws, nails and pellets, the Sun-Sentinel reported. Haasze told police he bought the explosive materials on eBay using his phone, the newspaper reported.

Boynton Beach police said they received a call around 7 p.m. about an explosion, WPTV reported. Police shut down several roads, the Oakwood Square Shopping Center, several homes and the Poinciana West condominiums, Boynton Beach Police Department spokesperson Stephanie Slater said. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad Unit also responded to the scene, the television station reported.

Members of the bomb squad said they found gunpowder and more devices in a nearby dumpster, the Miami Herald reported. The box containing the items was addressed to Haasze, according to the arrest report.

Haasze admitted to police he had been making the devices for years, detonating them for different reasons, like celebrating Independence Day, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

Neighbors told the newspaper that Haasze was a military veteran who worked as a security guard until health issues forced him to quit.

“Nobody felt threatened” by the noise, Dessie Hill, a neighbor, told the Sun-Sentinel. “People set off fireworks all the time around here.”

Police said residents were able to return to their homes by 12:30 a.m. on Thursday, WPTV reported.