Johnston man allegedly built explosive device found in Ankeny neighborhood


Editor’s note: The story above originally aired on June 11, 2021.

ANKENY, Iowa — A Johnston man has been arrested for allegedly building the explosive device found in an Ankeny neighborhood earlier this month.

Chad Allen Williams, 46, was arrested on June 18 on criminal charges related to the explosive device found in the 1400 block of SE Waywin Drive in Ankeny on June 9.

Williams is charged with possession of an unregistered explosive device and manufacture of an explosive device in violation of the law. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. A federal district court judge will determine his sentence.

The explosive allegedly built by Williams was found by a 9-year-old girl in the middle of the road on SE Waywin Drive.

“It was kind of scary but I knew exactly what to do, which was to tell my mom,” said Maya Buffington, the girl who found the explosive. “She went to go look at it, and she saw a fuse coming out of it. It was wrapped with duct tape and cardboard. I felt like it was going to go off and I was going to get blown up.”

Law enforcement successfully disarmed the device, but it wasn’t the first incident with explosives in the neighborhood.

The Ankeny Police Department said it had responded to multiple calls regarding explosions heard in the neighborhood over the past few months prior to June. There haven’t been any reports of injuries or property damage from these instances.

The Ankeny Police Department previously said it’s unlikely those incidents are connected to the pipe bomb found near a polling place at the Lakeside Center in March because the explosives found on SE Waywin Drive are constructed much differently.

The Ankeny Police Department, State of Iowa Fire Marshall’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating the case.

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