116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A Jackson County man who placed an “improvised incendiary device” behind a La Motte man’s shed was sentenced this week to three years in federal prison.
Aaron Hinke, 46, of Bellevue, pleaded guilty in March to possession of a National Firearms Act destructive device not registered to possessor.
The La Motte man’s 5-year-old daughter told him she found a “Looney Tunes bomb” behind the woodshed Sept. 6, 2020. The man found the device and noticed it had a “mortar style” firework attached to a gas can with blue painter’s tape, along with burned cigarette attached to the firework’s fuse.
The La Motte homeowner, identified as “K.B.” in court documents, alerted the sheriff’s office.
He told a deputy that Hinke exchanged text messages with him and that Hinke admitted leaving the device on his property, according to criminal complaint affidavit.
Hinke also told the man the “next time he wouldn’t snuff out the cig” and “if you only knew how badly I wanted to light that firecracker. LOL.”
There’s no information on Hinke’s relationship to K.B. The March plea agreement does include information that a domestic abuse protective order was filed against Hinke, restraining him from contacting “J.H.,” on June 29, 2020.
The sheriff’s office alerted the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office and two agents checked the device and collected items for examination.
An X-ray showed the fuel container had liquid in the bottom and a 4.5-inch artillery shell style firework with a long fuse was attached to it. The fuse extended along one side of the container with a cigarette taped to the end. The cigarette had a burned end, according to the affidavit.
The liquid was determined to be gasoline.
A search warrant for Hinke’s residence showed investigators found blue painter’s tape and the same brand of cigarettes used on the device, the affidavit stated. Hinke, who was present during the search, told investigators he built the device in his residence and took it to the man’s property.
A federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fireworks and Explosives officer determined the device was designed as a weapon and would be identified as an improvised incendiary device, according to the affidavit.
Incendiary bombs are destructive devices as defined in federal law and must be registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, which Hinke hadn’t done, the complaint stated.
U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams also ordered Hinke to serve three years of supervised release after prison. Hinke will remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service until he is sent to a federal prison.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dillan Edwards and investigated by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
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