Prosecutor Says Man's Escondido Home Was 'Bomb Factory'

George Jakubec Pleads Not Guilty To 26 Felony Counts In Connection With Explosives Discovery

A San Diego County man accused of robbing banks and having the largest cache of homemade explosive compounds ever found in one spot on U.S. soil was ordered by a judge Monday to remain in custody on $5 million bail.

George Djura Jakubec, 54, pleaded not guilty to 12 felony counts of possessing destructive devices and 14 counts of possessing ingredients to make destructive devices, along with two bank robbery charges.

Deputy District Attorney Terri Perez told Judge Marshall Hockett that after a gardener was injured in an explosion at Jakubec's unincorporated Escondido home last week, a large amount of hexamethylene triperoxide diamine, or HMTD, was discovered.

Investigators with the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and San Diego County Sheriff's Department also came across other explosive compounds known by the acronyms of ETN and PETN, the prosecutor said.

PETN was the highly volative explosive used by the shoe bomber in 2001, the underwear bomber and in last month's cargo plane plot where computer printers loaded with the explosive were placed on planes bound for the United States.

Retired New York Police Department bomb technician Kevin Barry said PETN is potent that it can self-ignite and even be set off by a temperature change.

"It is extremely powerful," said Barry in a phone interview. "Its detonation velocity is in excess of 26,000 feet per second."

Barry said PETN was not easy to obtain in the United States but easier to get in other countries.

Local and federal agents also found nine detonators and 13 unfilled homemade grenades with attached shrapnel.

The discovery of what she called "a bomb factory" amounted to "the largest quantity of these types of homemade explosives at one place in the United States," Perez said. "He had the makings of a bomb lab. He had precursors to making these explosives. He had detonators, he had grenades and so essentially he could make these destructive devices, and had completed several of them."

The explosive materials brought together by Serbian native were all "volatile" and "a huge danger to officers and the public," Perez said. There was also evidence that he had been traveling to Mexico, she said without elaborating.

The prosecutor said the intentions of Jakubec, a naturalized U.S. citizen, are still being investigated.

In response to a question about Jakubec's behavior, his estranged wife Marina Ivanova said, "I know that he was collecting, just obsessively collected stuff."

The gardener, 49-year-old Mario Garcia of Fallbrook, suffered injuries to his left eye and left arm when he inadvertently stepped on explosive material that had fallen to the ground last Thursday in the 1900 block of Via Scott.

Explosives experts found the HMTD in jars, and buried them in the ground on Friday to detonate them, closing the southbound lanes of Interstate 15 for about three hours for motorists' safety.

According to the prosecutor, Jakubec robbed banks in San Diego County on June 25 and July 17, and got away with a "substantial amount" of money.

She did not provide details, but San Diego police reported a robbery at a Bank of America in the Sorrento Valley on June 25 that was first believed to be the work of the so-called "Geezer Bandit."

The suspect, who wore a Halloween-style old man mask, handed a teller a demand note and escaped with cash, according to the SDPD. On July 17, another Bank of America branch, this one on Carmel Mountain Road, was robbed by a gray-haired, clean shaven man of about 5-feet 8 inches tall, wearing a floppy straw hat and sunglasses, police said.

Jakubec has short gray hair with a receding hairline and is slight in stature.

HMTD is made by mixing a liquid solution of hydrogen peroxide and hexamine with citric acid of sulfuric acid. The explosive was found in the dwelling of terrorism suspects who in 2006 plotted to detonate liquid explosives on at least 10 airplanes traveling from the United Kingdom to the United States and Canada.

Jakubec, apparently a building contractor, pleaded guilty in 2009 to commercial burglary and was placed on three years probation, according to court records.

Streets Near Escondido Home Re-Opened

On Monday, the street near Jakubec's home was re-opened by authorities.

Via Alexandra was shut down and closed off to traffic since the explosion Thursday that injured Garcia.

Nearby residents were glad the streets were returning to some sense of normalcy.

"I couldn't even duck underneath the yellow tape to get my mail," said neighbor Allan Landsman.

Landsman was thankful, however, for law enforcement's swift response to the incident.

"I couldn't believe the equipment they had available sitting in a garage when waiting to be used when necessary," Landsman added.

Three homes, including Jakubec's, remained empty Monday night, as investigators said it was still unsafe for them to stay there.

Jill Knipp lives right next door to the home where volatile explosives were found last week. She was allowed in for a short time to get some clothes, her pets and to prepare for the worst. She said investigators told her there's still a chance of an explosion.

"I took all the pictures off the walls and took anything I thought might get rocked in any kind of explosion and put it down on the carpet," Knipp said.

The past five days have surprised Knipp and her family, especially since they didn't know anyone lived next door.

"I have never seen him," she said. "I actually thought the house might have been empty."

She was even more surprised when she heard explosives were stored in the house.

"I don’t understand with all that it is in there and all the danger in there how a man and a woman were living in that house without blowing themselves up," Knipp said.

As Knipp was moving her things out, the Millers were moving in just down the street. A moving truck containing the Miller family's things was supposed to deliver the items on Saturday, but the road leading to their new front door was blocked by the investigation.

"This is absolutely nuts. What’s the chances of this, you know? This is supposed to be a nice neighborhood," Odie Miller said.

Miller said he still believes the neighborhood is safe, but intended to set some rules for his children.

"Well, you know, I’ve got boys. I’m sure they’re going to want to take a trek back up here through the woods and all that stuff, but you know we’re just not going to be able to do that," Miller said.