A Sitka man is facing state and federal charges for allegedly building and attempting to set off a bomb earlier this month, authorities say.
A federal indictment alleges that Zachary Alexander Sambo Loewen, 28, tried to set off a pipe bomb in a remote area near Sitka on Oct. 4. The bomb didn’t go off and nobody was harmed.
According to charging documents in his state case, Loewen admitted to the Sitka Police Department that he built the first pipe bomb to “see if he could do it.” He admitted to driving it far away and lighting the fuse, according to the written statement from SPD Officer Isaiah Clark. When the bomb didn’t go off, he was too afraid to go back and pick it up, according to Clark’s report.
A Sitka man found the bomb, Clark wrote, and brought it to police. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) helped SPD retrieve the bomb and from the contents of the bomb, authorities were able to go to local stores and track down that Loewen was the one who bought the items, Clark’s report stated.
Loewen told police that he believed people were trying to hurt him because he owed them money, so he tried to buy a gun. When he was denied a gun, he decided to see if he could build a bomb, Clark’s report alleges. When police asked Loewen how he learned how to build a bomb, he told them he learned from YouTube.
Loewen is facing both state and federal charges for the incidents. Electronic court records show the State of Alaska charged him with third-degree weapons misconduct, a class C felony.
In his federal indictment, Loewen is charged with two counts of possessing an unregistered firearm, one count of unlawfully making a firearm and one count of being a felon in possession of an explosive. Loewen has two prior felony convictions (trafficking stolen property in 2010 and drug possession in 2012) in Washington state and is not allowed to have explosives, according to the release. Loewen faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, as well as a fine of up to $250,000, the release states.
Online court documents show Loewen has been charged with more than a dozen crimes in Sitka this year, ranging from minor offenses to misdemeanors. He does not appear to have any past felony in convictions in Alaska.
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.