A 27-year-old Florida woman who’d built more than 24 pipe bombs was arrested Thursday, after her parents stumbled across the incendiary devices and called police.
In addition to the bombs, Michelle Louise Kolts had gathered smokeless pistol powder, fuse material, 23 different knives, 2 hatchets, nunchucks, 2 BB-pellet type rifles, 6 BB-pellet type handguns, and dozens of books and DVDs about murder, mass killing, domestic terrorism and bomb-making.
“The amount of highly destructive materials we found in this home were astonishing,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said at a press conference Friday. “If used, these bombs could have caused catastrophic damage and harm to hundreds, even thousands, of people.”
Chronister said a bomb disposal team was required to safely secure the devices from the Tampa-area home, and repeatedly applauded Kolts’ parents for having the courage to call 911.
Sheriff’s deputies had previously responded to the residence about a year ago, after a publishing company alerted officials that Kolts ordered books about domestic terrorism, mass murder and bomb-making, Chronister said.
Kolts told authorities at the time she didn’t intend to hurt anyone, so officers determined she didn’t pose a threat. Her parents also told officers at the time she was on the autism spectrum.
Over time, she became “consumed with the Columbine and Oklahoma killings,” said Chronister. After she was taken into custody Thursday, Kolts told detectives she intended to use the pipe bombs to hurt people.
“I have to commend her parents,” Chronister said in closing Friday. “They couldn’t have been more resourceful, they couldn’t have been more helpful. It’s because of these parents that who knows what type of catastrophic event was prevented here in our Tampa Bay area.”
Kolts is being held on a $180,000 bond and faces 24 counts of making a destructive device with intent to harm.