ALEXANDRIA, La. (KLFY) – A federal jury has convicted a man following multiple bombings in Louisiana.
According to a Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Louisiana press release, Daniel Aikens, 40, of Alexandria, was found guilty of eight counts of illegal explosive-related charges including the following:
- Making a destructive device (three counts)
- Possession of a destructive device (three counts)
- Use of an explosive to commit a federal felony (one count)
- Conveying malicious false information (one count)
According to the press release, two explosions occurred in 2019. The first was at Cloyd’s Beauty School in Monroe, La. on Sept. 12, 2019, and the other occurred on Dec. 20, 2019, at a Texaco gas station in Alexandria, La. Remnants of one of the devices were collected for analysis and found to contain a rocket motor commonly sold at Hobby Lobby and a pressure cooker.
Then on Jan. 2, 2020, an employee at PayDay Today located on MacArthur Drive in Alexandria, La. received a call from the number (716) 563-4031. While on the phone with the caller, an explosive device detonated and the caller told the employee that he caused the explosion and demanded $10,000.
According to the press release, the caller said there was another explosive device on the scene and he also recited the employee’s home address and threatened to kill her and her family.
During the investigation, authorities located metal pipe fragments, and at a nearby gas station, authorities retrieved surveillance footage that showed a man in a white Jeep Cherokee. The man in the Cherokee was seen looking in the direction of PayDay Today while on the phone, according to the press release.
A BOLO was then provided to the Alexandria area with screen captures of the Cherokee.
Four days later, the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office (RPSO) located the Cherokee and initiated a traffic stop. The driver was then identified as Aikens, who matched the description of the subject that was at the gas station before the PayDay Today explosion. The press release said that investigators searched Aikens’ home and saw damage in the kitchen consistent with a blast.
Authorities also located fragments of galvanized pipe and blast debris indicative of a pipe bomb detonation. Agents also secured his phone and found text messages communicating with a friend about the Monroe bombing. In an interview with the friend, he said that Aikens communicated with him after the Monroe and Texaco bombings, as well as let him listen in as he called PayDay Today from “the bomb phone.”
Further examination of Aikens’ phone showed that he was near Cloyd’s Beauty School in Monroe and web history showed a search for “how to build a pressure cooker bomb.” In addition, a piece of black tape was recovered from the pressure cooker device with Aikens’ DNA.
Location data from Aikens’ phone also showed that he frequented several stores in Lafayette, La., where he purchased a drill bit, two metal pipe caps, a steel pipe, rifle powder, rocket motor starters and adhesive the day before the Texaco explosion, the press release said.
What this investigation shows is that when federal, state and local law enforcement partners collaborate to investigate heinous criminal activity, justice is more often than not inevitable. This is an extremely dangerous individual and we are fortunate more persons were not injured. All the investigators at every level, talented prosecutors and the courageous victims and witnesses who faced Aikens in court, played a vital role in helping us obtain this conviction. The Western District of Louisiana is truly a safer place today due to this guilty verdict and given Aikens’ actions, coupled with his failure to accept responsibility, we will indeed seek a lengthy prison sentence.United States Attorney Brandon B. Brown.
Aikens will be sentenced on March 3, 2023.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, FBI, RPSO, Alexandria Police Department, U.S. Marchal’s Service, Louisiana State Police and the Alexandria Fire Department were all involved in the investigation of this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamilla A. Bynog, LaDonte A. Murphy and Daniel J. McCoy are prosecuting the case.