Tampa Bay woman arrested with two dozen pipe bombs
Police say she intended to detonate them, could have caused "catastrophic damage"
WIMAUMA, Fla. — A Wimauma woman has been charged with having 24 pipe bombs and plans to use them, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Just after 5 p.m. Thursday, deputies received a call from a couple who were concerned about their 27-year-old daughter, Michelle Kolts. They told deputies that she had explosive materials in her home, according to Sheriff Chad Chronister.
The sheriff’s bomb squad responded to her residence and found “24 pipe bombs, smokeless pistol powder, a fuse, 23 different knives, two hatchets, nunchucks and dozens of books and DVDs about murder, bomb making ammunition and domestic terrorism,” Chronister told reporters Friday morning.
Kolts has been charged with 24 counts of making a destructive device with intent to harm.
Chronister said the bombs could have easily been set to explode within 60 seconds of implementation and, “could have caused catastrophic damage to hundreds, if not thousands of people in our community and in the Tampa Bay area.”
Chronister said Kolts intended to use the weapons.
“She planned to use them to hurt people,” Chronister said. “While this case is alarming, I’m not here to demonize someone with mental health. It highlights the importance of speaking up and what can be prevented if you do. Had these parents not found the courage to call the sheriff’s office to seek help ... if you see something, say something.”
The sheriff’s office was alerted to Kolts about a year ago when an online company reported that Kolts was buying certain materials.
“At that time, we learned she is on the autistic spectrum and assured us it wasn’t her intent to harm anyone,” Chronister said. “She was on our radar but it never reached the level of being a threat, but now you can fast forward a year later. I can only imagine how difficult it is to turn in a family member, a loved one, but you can appreciate the fact that these parents had the courage to do so.”