South Carolina Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Federal Prison for Possession and Use of Explosive Devices

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ANDERSON, SOUTH CAROLINA – Acting United States Attorney M. Rhett DeHart announced today that Michael Lambert Seabrooke, 37, formerly of Barnwell, was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to possession of explosive devices and two counts of malicious damage and attempt to damage by means of explosive materials.

Evidence presented in court established that on July 7, 2019, a Pickens Police Department officer, after hearing an explosion, located a destructive device in a fenced-in area of the Pickens County Courthouse located at 214 East Main Street in Pickens.  The device had detonated and caused minor damage to the building, but no injuries were reported.  A preliminary investigation indicated the device was made of two metal pipe bombs attached with a belt to a propane cylinder with the valve in the open position.  The pipe bombs detonated but did not ignite the propane.  During a search of the area, law enforcement officers recovered items from the scene including galvanized metal pipes, pieces of pipe endcaps, black plastic bag type material, green plastic bag type material, a propane cylinder, along with propane cylinder hose.

Multiple law enforcement agencies worked together in the investigation to promptly locate the subject responsible.  During the investigation, surveillance video was obtained from nearby businesses.  In the video, a Chevy Silverado pickup truck with a South Carolina license plate was identified as a suspect vehicle.  The vehicle was registered in Columbia; and, on July 9, 2019, the vehicle was located in front of a residence there.  Federal agents maintained surveillance on the vehicle until contact was made with a subject walking to the truck.  A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Task Force Officer approached the male and identified the subject as Michael Seabrooke.

During an interview, Seabrooke confessed to federal agents that he placed the device at the Pickens County Courthouse and that he also threw several destructive devices on the roof of the Department of Social Services building in Pickens.  Agents obtained Seabrooke’s consent to search his truck and the bomb squad located two metal pipe bombs and two incendiary devices (Molotov cocktails) inside the vehicle.  During a search of his residence and vehicle, agents located materials consistent with those found on the explosive devices. 


Agents also went to the Department of Social Services building in Pickens where they recovered additional explosive devices consisting of three Molotov cocktails and one detonated pipe bomb that caused minimal damage.

During his interview, Seabrooke was completely cooperative with law enforcement and indicated he placed the devices and acted because he was concerned about issues with the Department of Social Services and his family.

United States District Court Judge Timothy M. Cain sentenced Seabrooke to 144 months in federal prison followed by 36 months of supervised release.  There is no parole in the federal system.

The case was investigated by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, the Pickens Police Department, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).  Assistant United States Attorney Max Cauthen handled the case.

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