Tip leads to discovery of explosives in W. Ashley apartment

Tip leads to discovery of explosives in W. Ashley apartment
William Whitfield. (Source: CCDC)
William Whitfield. (Source: CCDC)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Authorities say an anonymous tip led to the discovery of chemicals and other items used in the manufacturing of explosives at the apartment of a 33-year-old West Ashley man over the weekend.

William Floyd Whitfield was arrested Saturday and charged with manufacturing or possession of a destructive device.

According to police, Dorchester County Probation and Parole agents were called to Whitfield's apartment on 1850 Pebble Road around 5 p.m. after receiving a tip that neighbors believed the suspect was in possession of guns.

A court affidavit states agents arrived at the apartment to find items associated with the manufacturing of destructive devices in plain view. A search of the apartment uncovered large containers of acid, eight plastic bottles filled with a substance used in the making of explosives, and a handwritten note that said, "Pipe bombs detonate if authorities arrive anytime until 30 min. after I walk off."

Whitfield admitted to authorities he was constructing "poppers" that would be used to make "acid bombs", records state.

According to an incident report, Whitfield told police he would combine the explosive mixtures when camping in the woods. He also said he "liked placing different liquids in plastic bags and setting booby traps to care people."

The report states agents also found a black BB gun, a black cap gun that had the orange tip removed, and two ski masks in the suspect's bedroom. Whitfield told officials he used them to scare his family and friends, but "would not actually cause harm to people."

"No doubt in my mind that within days, the community would have been at risk,"said South Carolina Probation and Parole Agent in Charge Micky Talley.

Police evacuated Whitfield's apartment and told other tenants to stay inside their apartments. "Wow, like this is really too close to home," said Tina Zoll, who lives in the building next door.

A background check of Whitfield shows the suspect was put on probation last year after being convicted of third degree arson.

Whitfield is being held at the Charleston County Detention Center. His bond has bond set at $75,000.

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