San Mateo Teens Accused of Building Bomb as Prank

The two teens, who allegedly detonated a friend's mailbox as a prank, face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

Two San Mateo teens are facing up to seven years in prison for allegedly building a bomb and using it to detonate a mailbox last year.  

Kody Barden and Jake Heck, both 18, are accused of constructing the bomb using a Safeway gallon water bottle, tin foil, duct tape, and toilet bowl cleaner and detonating the bomb outside the mailbox of a mutual friend in Belmont on Sept. 9, 2011 as a prank, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office. A third unnamed minor also took part in the offense.

The defendants are charged with making a destructive device without a permit, possession of a destructive device and abuse of a destructive device. The offenses carry a punishment of up to seven years in state prison if convicted, Assistant District Attorney Al Serrato said.

Barden and Heck may also face federal charges for destruction of a mailbox, which constitutes federal property. The penalty for destruction of a mailbox can include hefty fines and up to three years in prison.

Federal charges in this type of case, however, are relatively uncommon and at the discretion of the U.S. Attorney, said Serrato.

The defendants are out of custody on $100,000 bail and will next appear in court on July 6 for disposition or to set a trial date. 

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