Tech Worker Rigged House as ‘Explosive Booby Trap’: DA

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A tech worker may have rigged his California home “as an explosive booby trap,” prosecutors said, after police arrived at the house and allegedly found its chimneys and fireplaces blocked as the property filled with propane gas from the kitchen stove.

Officers went to the Gilroy home of software engineer Markus Beck, 46, after the German national was allegedly involved in a drunk driving crash in the early hours of Feb. 28. After crashing into one parked vehicle and then sideswiping another, Beck was found by police in his car with a loaded gun at his feet and a stash of AR-15-style rifles in the trunk, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

Beck was arrested and law enforcement obtained a gun violence restraining order to seize other firearms, the office said. When police arrived at his home, “officers were nauseated by the smell of gas,” according to the DA’s office. “The oven unlit burners were on high.” After firefighters turned off the gas, investigators allegedly found phone cellphones left around the house “in a possible attempt to remotely ignite a fire.”

No one was injured at the gas-filled home or at the scene of the crash, prosecutors said.

The Gilroy Police Department told SFGate that in the days before his arrest, Beck had gone into Luigi Aprea Elementary School seeking a female staff member “who he believed worked there.” Staff told him to leave, but police allege that he continued to remain in the area, at which point they contacted law enforcement. “Officers contacted Beck at his residence a short distance away and he was advised to stay away from the school,” the department said.

Beck currently faces multiple weapons charges and is scheduled to enter a plea on April 10.