CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A man has been sentenced in connection to pipe bombs found on towboats in the Ohio River last October.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Nathaniel Blayn Becker, 43, of Marietta, Ohio, was sentenced today, Dec. 1, 2022, to eight years and one month in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
A federal grand jury found Becker guilty on two counts of possession of an unregistered destructive device and two counts of placement of a destructive device on a vessel.
The investigation began when destructive devices were found on two separate towboats on Oct. 21 and Oct. 25, 2021. While similar devices were found on a third towboat on Oct. 26, 2021, the US DOJ says those devices contained non-explosive septic tank cleaner, and therefore Becker was not charged in that incident.
Through the investigation, authorities found security footage showing Pecker purchasing “pipes and other relevant components” to make the devices found. The purchases were made on four separate occasions at a Lowe’s store in Marietta, Ohio. around the same time the devices were found.
Authorities said footage from around the time of the first incident, security footage from area businesses showed Becker carrying the components he’d purchased toward a bridge over the Ohio River and that they believe he dropped the devices onto the towboats from the bridge.
At the time of these incidents, Becker was already on probation stemming from an August 2020 conviction in Washington County, Ohio, for failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer. In that incident, Becker had brandished a knife at an officer during a traffic stop, led police on a vehicle chase and barricaded himself inside his home, the DOJ says. That stand-off ended with Becker arrested after police forced entry into the home.