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Fugitive accused of leaving pipe bombs in Palm Springs sought

September 12, 2013|By Jill Cowan
  • Edward Allen Costa.
Edward Allen Costa. (U.S. attorney's office )

Federal authorities are asking for the public's help finding a man accused of leaving half a dozen crudely made pipe bombs strewn around residential neighborhoods last year in Palm Springs.

Edward Allen Costa, 48, a sometimes-handyman investigators say was known to use meth, escaped when he signed out of a "halfway house" in Rubidoux last month and never came back, prosecutors allege.

He had been sentenced to a year in prison for possessing a .357 Magnum revolver and 106 rounds of ammunition as a felon, a U.S. attorney's office news release said Thursday. The Bureau of Prisons had assigned him to the house in Riverside County.

According to court documents, Costa had signed out of the facility to go to a state-run employment office.

Investigators initially charged Costa in the pipe bomb case in June 2012, about a month after the bombs appeared, the news release said. However, prosecutors dismissed the charges to allow for further investigation.

Earlier this week, a grand jury indicted Costa on six counts of possessing unregistered destructive devices, following that investigation. He also faces an escape charge filed previously.

None of the bombs exploded, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller, but they "caused quite a scare" for area residents at the time.

Investigators said bomb-making was apparently something of a hobby for Costa, according to Eimiller.

Still, she said, Costa could be dangerous, as someone who investigators say is at least "somewhat proficient in building improvised explosive devices" and is willing to use such bombs again "for whatever purposes."

Anyone with information about Costa's whereabouts is asked to call the FBI at (888) 226-8443.

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jill.cowan@latimes.com

Twitter: @jillcowan

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