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Man sentenced to prison for scattering pipe bombs in Palm Springs

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Man sentenced to 72 months in federal prison for scattering pipe bombs in Palm Springs

A 49-year-old man was sentenced Monday to 72 months in federal prison for leaving six pipe bombs in a Palm Springs neighborhood, mostly near his ex-girlfriend's home, officials said.

Edward Allen Costa, of Desert Hot Springs, pleaded guilty in May to possessing an unregistered destructive device, according to U.S. District Court records.

Of the six devices, five homemade bombs were found over a five-day period in May 2012 in the neighborhood. The sixth bomb was discovered in a different area of the city.

He told authorities he was on drugs and planned to blow himself up in front of his ex-girlfriend's home, according to court records. But he reportedly changed his mind and threw the bombs out his car window.

In a letter to the judge, his ex-girlfriend, Christa Bendtsen, described how Costa left her powerless.

"When Edward Costa had his freedom, he terrorized me and my family," she wrote. "We were at the mercy of his vicious choices. It left us feeling powerless and unable to defend ourselves."

Prosecutors said the discovery of the homemade bombs "created widespread public anxiety" in the city.

Soon after the bombs were found, investigators went to Costa's home and recovered a gun, but they did not find any explosives.

Investigators obtained his DNA, which was found on two of the bombs.

Costa denied any involvement in the pipe bombs but pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a handgun.

He was sentenced to a year in prison and was later transferred to a halfway house in Rubidoux, from which he escaped in August 2013, prosecutors said.

Banning police and the FBI found him in November 2013 and took him into custody.

While being interviewed by FBI investigators, he admitted responsibility for the bombs, according to court records.

For breaking news in Los Angeles and throughout California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA. She can be reached at veronica.rocha@latimes.com.

 

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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