Giuseppe Verdone Jr. is an 18-year-old student who’s already had his troubles in the the county. Last May he was charged with burglary and briefly jailed. He also had his troubles with the school district. He was attending Pathways Academy, the district’s alternative school for students with disciplinary issues. He’s not likely to attend it anymore.
Monday morning, Verdone ended up at the Flagler County jail after preparing and setting off a “bottle bomb” at a bus stop on Bird of Paradise Drive and Biscayne Drive in the northern part of Palm Coast. Another student and his mother were also at the bus stop and witnessed the incident.
The device is known to chemistry students and to particularly stupid pranksters who may not gauge the danger of the device, which can wound if it goes off within close proximity of people, though a police officer describing the bomb’s effects after a recent incident in New York State downplayed the device’s consequences. (See the video below.)
As About.com’s David Emery describes it, “homemade ‘bottle bombs’ have been around for at least two decades, though they’ve been known by a variety of different names, including ‘acid bombs,’ ‘Drano bombs,’ ‘works bombs,’ ‘pressure bombs,’ and ‘MacGyver bombs.’ They’re a favorite of teenage pranksters because they can be made with common household ingredients, but police warn that the devices are unpredictable and dangerous. Would-be bottle bomb makers should be aware that if caught they can be charged with a felony. Penalties can be quite severe if injuries or property damage result.”
Verdone didn’t get that memo. According to a sheriff’s office report, he was at the bus stop waiting for the Pathways bus just before 7 a.m. when he allegedly took a plastic bottle and mixed toilet bowl cleaner with aluminum foil, then closed the bottle cap. He put the bottle in the grass. When the solution mixes with aluminum, a chemical reaction follows, releasing gas that pressurizes the bottle. Within minutes, the bottle exploded. Plastic shards can travel several feet–and cut bystanders.
Verdone was taken into custody at the Home Depot parking lot in Palm Coast. After questioning by investigators, the sheriff’s report states, “he admitted to making and setting off the device.” He was charged with two felonies: possession or discharge of a destructive device at a bus stop and discharging a destructive device. He was booked into jail on $500 bond.
“Teenagers often fail to realize the dangers of experimenting with these homemade explosives. Unfortunately, bad decisions such as bringing the device to a bus stop, could have put other teenagers and youngsters at risk for serious injury,” said Flagler County Sheriff Don Fleming.
Below is a video of a report from Buffalo’s WIVB News on a mid-July bottle bomb incident in a suburban town there.
Ralph Belcher says
Book’em Dano. This is great news in the sense that so many shennanigans have gone unreported in the past, ranging from seemingly harmless to the deep end of things. Congratulations to the County School Systems, peers at the bus stop for stepping up and reporting this, and to the sheriff’s office for responding and taking care of business. Did you see the story of another Palm Coast student “tea bagging” another student for a prolonged period. His dad is all upset that this potentially, could cost his son the prospect of athletic scholarships. Teabagging and similar pranks should never be tolerated in any instance. It’s unacceptable behaviour. Totally unacceptable. And son, if you’re going to “play” you have to be ready to “pay”. Sorry Dad. My kids don’t do that, and thus, haven’t had to be subjected to any level of dicipline. They’re not perfect, but they DO know how to handle themselves in society.
It’s all about personal responsibility. Age 14 or 41.
Is our school taxes going to educate idiots like him?
The parents and our school failed.
This is a good thing he was caught and reprimanded, but a felony? Having some experience with these things, the term “Bomb” is stretching it quite a bit. What happens is you put the cap on the bottle after you put in the reactants. The pressure inside then inflates the bottle, blowing a 2 litre Coke bottle up to the size of a small garbage can. It’s really interesting to watch, even at my age. I can imagine it being irresistible if I was still a kid.. Then ot pops and makes a really loud boom, rattling the windows for about a block. Dangerous? I cant see how unless you put it in an enclosed space or are way too close.
But is this really worth giving the kid up to FIVE YEARS in prison and making him a felon for life? I don’t think it comes close.
As far as education, he’s sure learning something about chemistry. I think we need to invest in some remedial English around here more than paying to keep this kid in prison
Ralph Belcher says
Oh, I doubt he will do prison time, in the final analysis. But he will have to answer for his choice of actions, and that, all said, is fair enough. That maximum sentence would be for something rather egregious. This is not the case. We don’t know if anyone else got sprayed with chemicals…
Darren May says
Alex, how did the school(s) fail him? By not telling him making such a device at a bus stop was illegal. The answer to your improperly phrased question, yes part of our tax dollars go to the School District to teach all children.
Billy Concerned says
While this character may not be a model citizen, this is a clear example of stupid laws enforced stupidly. This thing is NOT a bomb. Those students are more at risk riding the bus on the highway than they are from being injured by “flying plastic”. Give me a break. If I was on his jury I’d find him not guilty.
This kid stayed in my home with my son.I dont think alot of u know what u r talking about.The school system is failing a lot of kids.My son was one of them.All this county thinks about is putting these kids in jail.My son is spending time in jail now because one of these fake ass cops said he hit him.This county needs to check there police officers bet they get only a couple of good apples out the bunch.