Home filled with explosives to be torched

By Marty Graham

ESCONDIDO, California (BestGrowthStock) – A suburban San Diego house found packed with high explosives, bomb-making materials and trash will be burned to the ground next week because officials decided it was too dangerous to thoroughly clear the debris.

The house, located in a middle-class neighborhood in the small town of Escondido, has become the center of an investigation of several area bank robberies since a gardener was injured by an explosion on the property on November 18.

The home’s tenant, George Djura Jakubec, 54, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Serbia, was arrested by San Diego County sheriff’s deputies called to the scene of the blast, and he was later jailed on $5.1 million bail.

Authorities entering the single-story, wood-framed house found it stuffed to the ceiling with piles of paper and other debris, mixed with large quantities of explosives, detonators and other bomb materials, including 13 makeshift shrapnel grenades.

According to the county Sheriff’s Department, they also found two handguns, and on questioning Jakubec, he admitted to robbing three banks during the past two years.

State prosecutors initially charged him with armed robbery and possession of bomb-making materials. But the state dismissed its case after a federal grand jury returned an eight-count indictment against Jakubec on Thursday accusing him of the three bank robberies and various weapons offenses.

He is to be arraigned in federal court on Monday, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Rees Morgan.

Three homes closest to Jakubec’s have been evacuated since November 18 as a precaution. Some explosives removed from the house, located about 30 miles north of San Diego, were detonated on his property the next day as authorities shut down a nearby portion of Interstate 15.

But the home’s interior proved too jammed with debris and potentially hazardous materials to be thoroughly searched and safely emptied of its contents. Officials instead devised a plan to seal off the dwelling and burn it down.

The burning was tentatively slated for next Wednesday, depending on weather conditions, the sheriff’s office said.

Construction of a 16-foot-high containment wall began on Thursday as some additional residents prepared to move out of the area during the fiery demolition for fear their own homes might be damaged or destroyed in the process.

“We’re going to pack up the dogs and kids and head out until this is over,” Ronae Cherkin, who lives diagonally across the street from the Jakubec house, said on Friday afternoon.

A local newspaper, the North County Times, reported that Jakubec held a state construction contractor’s license about 20 years ago but has been unemployed recently. A listing identified as Jakubec’s on the professional networking website LinkedIn describes him as computer software consultant.

(Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Greg McCune)

Home filled with explosives to be torched