TABOR, S.D. (KELO) — Just before 11 p.m. on the night of Friday, August 20, a resident of the 100 block of East Chicago St. in Tabor, S.D. called 911 to report the sound of an explosion coming from their neighbor’s house, telling the dispatcher that there was a man lying in the driveway.
According to court documents, 29-year-old Joseph Thomas Hansen was found unresponsive in the driveway with apparent thermal burns. Witnesses interviewed by law enforcement say they had seen Hansen with a pipe bomb earlier that day. Another witness claimed they were in Hansen’s house earlier that day, and that they had seen him boiling gasoline. The witness said Hansen told them he was making napalm.
After being discharged from the hospital on Saturday, August 21, Hansen was placed on a probation hold and housed at the Bon Homme County Jail. During an interview, court documents show that Hansen told law enforcement that had firework artillery shells and detonation cord and that he had been planning to make 12 pipe bombs using powder from the fireworks.
Hansen claimed that he had completed 3-5 of the bombs before one of them exploded. He also told interviewers that he had gasoline and a propane bottle in his room.
Hansen has been charged with the sale, possession, or transportation of a destructive device and unauthorized possession of substances with intent to make a destructive device.
In February 2011 Hansen was sentenced to 10-years in prison for possessing ammunition and fireworks that prosecutors say he was planning to use to blow up Sisseton High School.
According to Roberts County court documents from 2010, Hansen was building explosive devices from April to August 2010. He was charged with 2 counts of the sale, transportation or possession of a destructive device, with court documents saying he transported a destructive device to a location in Roberts County and filmed its detonation.
Hansen was also charged with a 3rd count: “Unauthorized Possession of Substance with the Intent to Make Destructive Device (SDCL 22-14A-18), in that he did possess any substance, material, or any combination of substances or materials with fireworks, gunpowder, plastic and metal pipes with end caps, nails, screws, and fuses with the intent to make a destructive device without first obtaining a permit from the Department of Public Safety to make such a device.”
Hansen was sentenced, and according to the Department of Corrections was released from state prison on January 17, 2019.
Following this release, Hansen has had minor run-ins with the law, including drug and alcohol charges, petty theft, and driving offenses.
Circuit Judge Cheryle Gering set Hansen’s bond at a sum of $250,000 cash. It is not immediately apparent for what purpose Hansen was constructing pipe bombs, but a look into his criminal history may give some context.
Hansen will appear in Bon Homme County court at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, August 24.