Man facing criminal charge after girlfriend finds pipe bomb in Brainerd apartment

A Brainerd man accused of assembling an operational pipe bomb has been charged with a felony, court documents show.

According to a criminal complaint, the girlfriend of 38-year-old Johnathan Theodore Durham found the device — a section of metal pipe with a fuse and caps on either end — while cleaning their apartment on Tuesday and reported it to authorities.

When a police officer arrived, the girlfriend said Durham told her about plans to fashion a pipe bomb for someone who “deserved it” and that she had been finding gunpowder containers and sliced-open shotgun shells around the apartment, the complaint states.

Law enforcement removed the device from the apartment. An X-ray revealed it was a live bomb containing gunpowder and shrapnel — which appeared to be pellets from the discarded shotgun shells. The Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Team then took custody of the bomb.

When police questioned Durham, he initially denied making a bomb. He then backtracked and said the object that was found in the apartment wasn’t fully assembled and that “nothing was in it,” the complaint states.

Durham later claimed he had put the bomb together and had taken it apart four months ago. He also said he was showing his girlfriend how to make the device. While going into the particulars of the type of ammunition he used, he said he “never drilled anything in it or had a fuse” because he “knew it was illegal,” the complaint states.

After police arrested Durham, who said he had not registered the bomb with the Department of Public Safety and had not received authorization to make such a device, he allegedly blurted out that he was being framed.

Durham is charged with one count of possessing or manufacturing an explosive or incendiary device. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

He made his first court appearance on Friday and was released from custody without bail. He’s prohibited from possessing firearms or weapons as part of the conditions of his release. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 17.