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Crime & Courts

Bond set for DeKalb man charged with making explosives popular with terror groups

Police find suspected TATP explosives, cut pipes after search of DeKalb storage unit

Brenton C. Strobert, 26, of the 1100 block of W. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb
Brenton C. Strobert, 26, of the 1100 block of W. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb

DeKALB – A judge set bond at $100,000 Wednesday for a DeKalb man facing charges of manufacturing explosives of the type commonly used by international terror groups.

Brenton C. Strobert, 26, of the 1100 block of West Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, already faced child pornography charges.

Now he also is charged with unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful possession of ammunition by a felon and possession of ammunition without a valid FOID card.

A judge issued another warrant for Strobert on Tuesday with the new charges, and he appeared for bond call in DeKalb County Court on Wednesday afternoon.

The unlawful use of a weapon charge carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, but Strobert could face up to 60 years in prison if convicted of child pornography. It would be his second child porn offense, records show.

Suspected explosives first were found in Strobert’s home at the Lincoln Tower apartment complex earlier this month as police were serving a search warrant seeking child pornography, authorities have said.

A later search of a storage unit uncovered the materials that led to the weapons charges, police said.

Police say in court records that they found thousands of images of child pornography on electronic equipment belonging to Strobert.

DeKalb interim Police Chief John Petragallo said an ongoing investigation into property Strobert had access to, including a storage unit in the 200 block of Harvestore Drive, revealed a substance later determined to be ammonium nitrate, and other precursors to make a triacetate triperoxide, or TATP explosive – the same material used in terrorist bombing attacks by groups such as ISIS.

They also uncovered more than 20 cut pipes, unknown chemicals and other materials, and more than 20 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition.

The Kane County Bomb Squad determined that the material was in an energetic state and not safe to move or store, according to a news release from the police department.

A robot and X-ray machine were used to inspect the contents of the storage unit.

“Through the investigation at 1100 W. Lincoln Highway, we learned there was a storage unit he had access to,” Petragallo said. “A search of the storage unit was conducted and investigators found what they believed to be materials used in creating explosives.”

In DeKalb County Court on Wednesday, Judge Phillip Montgomery ordered Strobert held on $100,000 bond.

Last week he had ordered Strobert released on his signature and that he be placed on electronic home monitoring but, in court Tuesday, it was revealed that Strobert had been in jail because he was having difficulty finding a place to live.

Strobert would need $10,000 cash to get out of jail.

DeKalb County State’s Attorney Rick Amato asked that the bond be increased to $500,000, noting that the original warrant had requested that amount, but that Montgomery had lowered it to $100,000.

Over the past week, Strobert has been connected to several investigations involving the DeKalb Police and Fire Department, the FBI and the bomb squad.

The squad on Saturday destroyed the substance found in the storage unit, and on Oct. 9 detonated other potentially explosive material after they discovered it in Strobert’s apartment.

The sound of the Oct. 9 detonation could be heard by people across town, DeKalb interim Police Chief John Petragallo said.

A tip from the Illinois Attorney General’s office alerted DeKalb police to suspected child porn activity by Strobert, Petragallo has said.

It is the second time Strobert has faced child pornography charges. He was sentenced to three years in prison in connection with a 2014 case in DeKalb County, court records show, and was required to register as a sex offender for life.

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