Ocala man accused of plotting to blow up Target stores

By Anthony Leone, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Friday, February 17, 2017, 11:25 AM EST

An Ocala man on Thursday is accused of plotting to blow up Target stores on the East Coast, including Florida, just to lower the retail giant's stock, authorities stated.

  • Mark Barnett accused of giving a confidential source $10,000 to deliver bombs
  • The Marion County man wanted to lower stocks
  • Barnett, a registered sex offender, could face 10 years in federal prison
  • READ the criminal complaint here

The 48-year-old Mark Barnett had already made bombs, but in January of this year he offered money to a person listed as a "confidential source" in a criminal complaint, according to officials.

"Barnett then had offered the (confidential source) $10,000 to 'deliver packages' to multiple locations including Florida, New York and Virginia," the criminal complaint stated.

Barnett, who turns 49 on Saturday, created at least 10 explosive devices and disguised them in food packaging, according to investigators.

During one of their meetings, Barnett told the confidential source to be careful with a box that contained the explosives, the complaint continued. 

"When the (confidential source) asked whether the boxes would kill the (confidential source), Barnett responded, 'No, they'll just take your hand off,'" according to the complaint.

The confidential source eventually gave the explosive devices to Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, stated the criminal complaint.

Barnett wanted Target's stock to fall so he could buy shares cheap, stated investigators.

According to the criminal complaint, Barnett is a registered sex offender who is on probation for felony offenses that include: kidnapping, multiple counts of sexual battery with a weapon or force and grand theft.  

Barnett has been charged with possession of a destructive device affecting commerce by a previously convicted felon, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

If convicted, Barnett could face a maximum of 10 years in federal prison.