Hanover man charged with making bombs in his Adams County basement

Heath Unkart

Heath Unkart, 27, was formally charged with a felony for manufacturing explosive devices in his Hanover home in Conewago Township, Adams County. Unkart was formally accused of violating the penal laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on August 17.

Heath, a former member of the military, sought mental and emotional help, in June 2014 after police searched his house and found him in possession of explosive materials. He was recently charged with an arson-related offense in Adams County for possession, manufacturing and transporting incendiary or explosive material. He had in his possession 35 improvised electric initiators that could be used in an improvised explosive devise (IED). Seventeen of the improvised initiators had a low explosive filler in each of the openings of the bulbs, with the intent to commit an offense, police reported.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Ashli Unkart, Heath’s wife, on June 7, 2014, stated that when she questioned Heath about the suspicious black PVC pipe she found when looking for a screwdriver in their basement, he informed her that it was just a “detonator.” Ashli said that she did not question him further on the items within the tool chest.

She said she then checked her husband’s Internet searches, and found that he had visited sites relating to bomb making and explosives; robbing bank ATM’s; and pick pocketing. She said she immediately contacted police.

When she contacted Pennsylvania State Police, Ashli told them that she had concerns over her husband’s recent influx of money. She noticed that he made a $125,000 house payment, a $14,000 truck payment, and a $400 credit card payment. Confronting him about the payments, Ashli said Heath advised her the money was transferred via the Internet from a Swiss account, and not to worry, as the money did not belong to anyone.

In addition, Ashli told police that she received a phone call from Toys-R-Us credit inquiring if a David Anderson was authorized to make a payment to the couple’s account. The customer service representative, police reported, said that Heath had called them requesting to make a payment using Anderson’s account. But, when Heath was questioned about whom David Anderson was, he hung up. Toys-R-Us advised Ashli that Heath would not take their return calls, police said.

A search warrant was executed for both Heath’s house and truck. A team of troopers from local and state agencies commenced a search of the couple’s home. The adjoining residence was evacuated and the area was cleared of pedestrian traffic.

The following items were seized pursuant to the search warrant:

Hp Pavilion computer

Logitech USB

Toshiba hardrive

Apple iPhone

Two spools of electric wire (found in the back seat of his truck)

Orioles schedule card with metal strip and wires attached to 9 volt battery (found under passenger seat of truck)

Remington 12 gauge shotgun

Sig Sauer AR type weapon

Ruger .22 Mark II

Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun

Pardner .410 gauge shotgun

Nova camo bow with hard case

10 9 mm rounds

Shortly after troopers searched Heath’s house and truck, Unkart and his truck were legally detained. Heath was initially handcuffed for officer safety as Ashli reported that he always carried a 9 mm handgun.

Checked for weapons, but none were found, police said, Heath began consulting with FBI Special Agent Sean Dowd to identity the compounds found in his basement. Police decided to wait for a forensic analysis of Heath’s computer to prove that he was in fact making bombs, and had the intent to use them for harm. Further investigation into the financial aspect of the case was also agreed upon, police said.

During a June 11, 2014 interview, Heath was again given a written copy of his Miranda warnings, and he answered questions about the construction of explosives and the theft of money via fraudulent wire transfers. He admitted, in a recorded interview, that he attempted to create an explosive compound — C4. He detailed to police how he conducted Internet research to find the ingredients needed and how to combine them. Heath explained, he made detonators using Christmas tree lights and black powder and had tested them in his back yard to confirm its functionality. Police said Heath admitted he couldn’t get the clay consistency right, and the detonator would not stay.

At the conclusion, Heath spoke at length about his state of mind, and his desire to speak with a professional regarding his military service and recent events. Unkart stated that he believed he had hit rock bottom. He confessed, police reported, that Heath did not have thoughts of harming himself or others.

A trooper contacted the VA in Camp Hill, and put Heath on the phone with a representative.