Waldo bomb suspect charged

A 42-year-old Waldo man faces a total of 52 felony charges of possession of improvised explosives in Sheboygan County Circuit Court stemming from a Feb. 20 explosion at his home.

Daniel J. Shilts Jr., 720 W. Second St., Waldo, made his initial appearance in court Tuesday on the charges. A preliminary hearing was set for Wednesday, April 6 at 3 p.m. in Circuit Court Branch 2.

According to the criminal complaint filed by District Attorney Joe DeCecco, investigators discovered 51 improvised explosive devices at Shilts’ home after responding to reports of a possible explosion there around 4:45 p.m. Feb. 20.

Sheriff’s deputies who responded to the scene found that a total of 10 windows on the home’s porch had been blown out and Shilts had a cut finger and blood on his pants.

Shilts admitted that there had been an explosion, but claimed that while welding his torch had come in contact with an aerosol can, which then exploded.

Shilts was on parole for a 2008 conviction for possession of improvised explosives. He was convicted of bail jumping in 2012 when he was found with large amounts of chemicals for making fireworks.

When deputies at the scene Feb. 20 smelled what they believed was black explosive powder, they searched the home and saw several bags of what appeared to be explosive powder, four-inch mortar balls, a mortar tube and “various chemicals and powders believed to be used in the construction of explosive devices,” according to the criminal complaint.

That led to a call for the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad, which then sealed the home overnight in order to conduct a daylight search with the assistance of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and a National Guard Civil Support Team.

That search led to the discovery of the improvised explosive devices.

First Lt. Charlotte Koshick of the National Guard CST and ATF Special Agent Certified Explosive Specialist Jody Keeku identified more than 70 pounds of chemicals which “could be used to construct explosive devices,” the complaint states.

“(T)he seized explosive devices were capable of causing great bodily harm, death, as well as property damage,” the complaint says Koschick reported. “In fact, she stated that had the original explosion set off the 51 explosive devices, or if a fire had set them off, that residence would have been destroyed and the adjacent houses significantly damaged if not destroyed by the blast.”

Each of the felony charges Shilts faces carry a penalty of up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if he is convicted.

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