HOUSTON – A 25-year-old man has been taken into custody for attempting to maliciously damage or destroy property receiving federal financial assistance, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
A criminal complaint was filed in Houston federal court today charging Andrew Schneck, of Houston. He made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy this morning, at which time he was temporarily ordered into custody upon the government’s request pending a detention hearing set for Thursday, Aug. 24 at 2:00 p.m.
According to the complaint, on the evening of Aug. 19, 2017, a Houston park ranger observed Schneck kneeling among the bushes in front of the General Dowling Monument located in Hermann Park in Houston. Schneck was allegedly holding two small boxes with various items inside to include what appeared to be duct tape and wires. After placing the boxes on the ground per the ranger’s request, Schneck then allegedly took a drink from plastic bottle but immediately spit it on the ground. The ranger then noticed a timer and wires in the box and notified the Houston Police Department (HPD), according to the complaint.
The clear liquid was field tested as was a white powdery substance found in a small, black aluminum tube which revealed they were most likely nitroglycerin and Hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD), respectively, according to the charges. HMTD is a high explosive organic compound used as an initiating, or primary explosive. Nitroglycerin has been used as an active ingredient in the manufacture of explosives. ln its pure form, nitroglycerin is a contact explosive, with physical shock causing it to explode, which degrades over time to even more unstable forms. Nitroglycerin is highly dangerous to transport or use. ln its undiluted form, it is one of the world's most powerful explosives.
Authorities believe the items in Schneck’s possession on Aug. 19 were capable to produce a viable explosive device, according to the charges.
The complaint further alleges that Schneck conducts “chemistry experiments” at his Houston residence.
The City of Houston receives federal financial assistance for maintenance of Hermann Park where the General Dowling Monument is located.
If convicted, Schneck faces a minimum of five and up to 40 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
The FBI and HPD are conducting the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys S. Mark McIntyre and Ted Imperato are prosecuting the case.
A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Southern District of Texas