HOUSTON - A 25-year-old Houston man is in federal custody for allegedly planning to blow up a Confederate statue in Hermann Park.
Andrew Schneck is charged with attempting to maliciously damage or destroy property receiving federal financial assistance, Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez said.
Schneck's neighborhood near Rice Village was evacuated for several hours Monday after hazardous materials were found inside his home. Loud noises were heard in the area as law enforcement disposed of the materials through a series of controlled detonations.
A Houston park ranger saw Schneck kneeling among the bushes in front of the General Dowling Monument on Saturday night, according to investigators. They say he had a plastic bottle containing explosives, along with a timer, duct tape, wires and other items.
The park ranger said he asked Schneck if he was planning to blow up the monument. The suspect responded that "he did not like that guy," according to the ranger.
If convicted, Schneck faces a minimum of five and up to 40 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
KHOU 11 Investigates found that this isn't the first time Schneck has been criminally connected to dangerous chemicals. He was let off probation just last fall, two years into a five year sentence, after the then-college student plead guilty to storing explosives in his family's home.
Investigators say picric acid, a chemical once popular in military explosives, was found during an October 2013 raid of Schneck's home. He was put on probation but was released early after his lawyer said he wasn't a threat to society.