Escondido bomb maker gets 30 years

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – An unemployed computer software consultant who made bombs and stored large amounts of volatile explosives in his Escondido home, and also robbed three banks at gunpoint, was sentenced Monday to 30 years in federal prison.

George Djura Jakubec, 55, pleaded guilty in March to carrying a firearm during a bank robbery and attempted bank robbery, and admitted that he made nine detonators, 13 grenade hulls and 22 other destructive devices and stored them at his residence.

The frail-looking defendant, who had to sit down during his sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Larry Burns, offered no explanation for what he had planned to do with the bombs and explosives he had in his home.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rees Morgan said authorities conducted an exhaustive six-month investigation and found no evidence that Jakubec was a terrorist or that he planned to use the bombs and explosives against others.

“We've never seen this amount of explosives,” the prosecutor told the judge.

Burns said a letter from Jakubec's wife indicated the defendant lost his job in 2007 and became depressed, feeling “useless and worthless” and suffering from anxiety.

Jakubec began a pattern of “obsessive hoarding” of electronic gadgets, making a total mess out of their home.

“How the two of you survived (in the home) is surprising to me,” Burns told the defendant. “This is very dangerous stuff.”

According to the plea agreement, Burns had no discretion in imposing at least 30 years in prison.

“You're not the shoe-bomber,” the judge told the defendant, saying he didn't understand why Jakubec decided to rob banks with a loaded gun.

Defense attorney Michael Berg said Jakubec was a mild-manner guy who had a lot of things going for him.

“Something just basically broke down,” Berg told the judge.

Morgan said the armed bank robberies were the driving force behind the 30-year sentence. The prosecutor called the defendant's actions of robbing three banks and trying to rob a fourth while armed “exceedingly dangerous activity.”

Jakubec admitted being armed with a loaded firearm when he robbed a Bank of America branch in San Diego of $43,000 on Nov. 13, 2009. He also pleaded guilty to being armed and going into the same bank two weeks later with the intention of committing another heist, but leaving when he saw a security guard.

Jakubec also admitted robbing a BofA branch on Scranton Road in San Diego of $1,480 on June 25, 2010, and stealing $10,400 from another BofA branch on Carmel Mountain Road last July 17.

Berg said Jakubec chose Bank of America branches to rob because he believed they had the worst security.

Burns said he was not inclined to grant a request for Jakubec to repay the county of San Diego $541,000 for the cost of burning down the rental house and making the area safe before it was set on fire because the defendant had no ability to pay.

Jakubec was arrested last Nov. 18 after a landscaper was seriously injured by stepping on some stones outside the home, detonating some volatile chemicals.

A state prosecutor who handled the case before it was turned over to federal authorities described the cache of explosives at Jakubec's house as the “largest quantity of these types of homemade explosives ever found at one place in the United States.”

Deputy District Attorney Terri Perez said Jakubec turned the rental home in unincorporated Escondido into a “bomb factory.”

The discovery of the stockpile prompted then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to declare the San Diego region a disaster area. Likewise, the county Board of Supervisors ratified a local emergency declaration over the dicey situation.

After weighing the risks posed by the explosive chemicals, sheriff's officials decided that burning down the house was the only reasonably safe way to dispose of the hazardous substances.

On the morning of the Dec. 9 controlled burn, deputies closed roads in the neighborhood and evacuated dozens of surrounding residences before a bomb squad remotely ignited the condemned home via a series of charges placed throughout it.

Categories: KUSI