Harlan Man Accused of Buying Bomb-Making Materials, Threatened Attack and ‘Collateral Damage’

HARLAN, Iowa – A Shelby County man will remain behind bars as he awaits trial for allegedly purchasing bomb-making materials and threatening to use them to cause “collateral damage.”

In June, 50-year-old Blake Cooper of Harlan was charged with possession of incendiary or explosive device with intent in Shelby County. The charge came after his girlfriend reported to law enforcement that he sent her a text message about his plan to cause death and injury to police and innocent civilians in an attack.

The state charge has since been dismissed. On August 1st, Cooper was charged in federal court with possession of a firearm while being an unlawful user of a controlled substance.

Cooper’s message was shown in federal court documents:

“There[sic] gonna come for me. I bet this week. Collateral damage is key to whether or not people get informed as to how rigged the whole family law system is. It’s sad to say, but I need as much collateral damage as possible. If a cop gets shot in the leg while serving a warrant, that’s local news. If 6 cops get killed, 4 wounded and several innocent civilians get killed or severely wounded, then it becomes national news. And that’s the only way anything is ever gonna get stuff changed. And now that my whole plan had to be revealed to you, you will be an accessory.”

The woman also told investigators Cooper sent her a photo of a box and an order confirmation e-mail that he had purchased 50 pounds of ammonia nitrate around July 25, 2019. The accompanying message said, "Package came today. 50lbs of ammonia nitrate. Google that."

When the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the State Fire Marshal executed a search warrant at Cooper’s Harlan residence they found the ammonia nitrate, along with other chemicals and items consistent with making explosives like a wireless detonator, electric squibs, and a microcomputer timer switch.

Investigators also found several firearms including a Smith & Wesson M&P 15, which is an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle. Cooper admitted to authorities that he had approximately 30 guns in his home.

Drug paraphernalia that tested positive for residue of methamphetamine was found in Cooper’s home and vehicle and the federal complaint says Cooper told investigators he had been using meth for two to three years. He admitted to using meth within the past couple of days.

Cooper is being held in the Pottawattamie County Jail.

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