He wanted to get rid of apartment tenants. Then, the bombs went off, cops say

Bruce Steffenhagen and Nathan Martin got arrested together June 5.
Bruce Steffenhagen and Nathan Martin got arrested together June 5.

One Florida man wanted tenants out of an apartment off the garage of his home. So, he went along with his pal's plan to get them out using a bomb.

That's according to Orange County deputies, who said Nathan Martin and Bruce Steffenhagen admitted to setting off a pair of "acid bombs" — homemade bombs often involving 2-liter plastic bottles and common household materials — to create noise and ruckus after they were arrested last week.

Martin, 38, is in Orange County Jail on a charge of throwing or projecting explosives. Steffenhagen, 56, posted $15,000 bond after being charged with being a principal to discharge a destructive device.

Both live with Steffenhagen's 86-year-old father, Jack Steffenhagen, in a Beach Boulevard house owned by Jack's living trust. Police were called to the house after neighbors heard two explosions.

According to the arrest reports, Bruce Steffenhagen told deputies he heard the explosions but didn't know where they came from. Steffenhagen let them enter his backyard through his garage.

The arrest report says the Orange County Explosive Device Team and Orange County Fire Rescue's hazmat team figured "acid bombs" were set off, and noticed materials in the garage.

A neighbor said she heard the explosions and looked out her window to see Steffenhagen and another white male in the backyard. When deputies began asking Steffenhagen to come with them, he quickly gave up Martin.

"Bruce also told me Nathan asked Bruce not to tell police he was hiding in the house because he just got out of jail a week prior," Deputy Robert Porteus wrote.

Back at the Orange County Sheriff's Office, the report said, Martin admitted "Bruce was attempting to kick two occupants out of an apartment off the back of the garage."

An acid bomb should scare them out, the two figured. Martin used aluminum foil, meratic acid and a 2-liter Dr. Pepper bottle to make an acid bomb, which he threw into a neighbors yard after mixing and shaking.

Steffenhagen, the report said, admitted "he knew the bomb would explode to scare the occupants out of the room, but didn't know it would be this big a deal."

Martin's recent criminal past includes pleading guilty to burglary, dealing in stealing property, receiving money from a pawnbroker under false pretenses. Most recently, he pleaded no contest to dealing in stolen property and receiving money from a pawnbroker under false pretenses.

Steffenhagen has past convictions for theft, possession of a controlled substance and driving without a license.