During a detention and preliminary hearing on Thursday, FBI agents confirmed that they believe an Upstate man in their custody has ties to numerous explosive devices found throughout Anderson County.
Wesley Dallas Ayers, 27, was arrested on Saturday after a federal search warrant was served at properties in the 900 block of Travis Road. He is charged with the federal offense of possession of an unregistered firearm.
In Thursday's hearing, the U.S. Attorney argued there is overwhelming evidence Ayers is a threat to the community and himself.
According to special agents, a confidant said they observed Ayers making multiple bombs in 2017 and said Ayers "thinks differently than others." The source also told investigators Ayers killed his fiancee's cat.
Agents testified the search of the properties on Travis Road led to the discovery of clown and animal masks matching posts on Ayers' social media accounts, two firearms which weren't registered to Ayers, several items with Arabic writing and a photocopy of the White House with flames inside referencing Jihad.
They also said they found an ottoman buried in a hole in the ground, which investigators said contained supplies used in the numerous explosive or hoax devices found throughout the area in January and February. They said those materials included batteries, glow sticks, green tape, a glue gun, fishing wire and Christmas lights.
According to special agents, Ayers has a tattoo of a teddy bear with glowing red eyes on his left arm. In an active explosive device found on Feb. 15, agents said someone on Little Mountain Road noticed a teddy bear sitting upright in a basket with red, glowing eyes. An x-ray of the device revealed pipes and a battery inside, agents said.
On Jan. 30, a man was injured when a device inside a wicker basket detonated near the intersection of Travis and Martin roads. Agents said a glow stick was inside the basket and the victims removed the lid. A photo of the White House referencing Jihad with the message "war has been declared" was found at the scene, agents testified. An agent said that the photo matched the photo found on Ayers’ property.
A total of seven devices were found related to the case, including three hoax devices. Finger prints found on some of the devices matched Ayers', according to agents.
Agents said one of the devices, found on Feb. 18, was a black box with white wires containing documents pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. Messages also said the boxes were a "practice run" and "time is almost here," agents said in court Thursday. Another hoax device contained Arabic writing referring to Bojinka, a plot in the 90s to blow up multiple commercial airlines, according to officials.
In addition to the wicker basket and teddy bear bombs, agents said two active devices were found on Feb. 24. One of the boxes contained an HVAC cylinder, gun powder and Arabic markings, they testified. The other, found 8 to 10 yards away, agents said had a chemical reaction bomb inside a container which had already exploded.
All the active devices were "low explosive" but still strong enough to injure or kill due to the blast pressure and shrapnel, agents said.
During the hearing, officials said a search of Ayers' social media accounts revealed photos of Arabic scroll, animal masks, disfigured dolls, bloody sheets and clowns with mutilated faces.
The defense attorney for Ayers argued all the items called into question by federal authorities could be found at Walmart and that his client should not be profiled based on references to Islam. The attorney said specifics about the suspect are not visible in home surveillance video connected to the explosives. There are others responsible for making the devices, Ayers' attorney said.
Ayers' mother, Tammie Ayers, said she doesn't believe her son is capable of creating the explosive devices.
"It just seems like it would a scientist to something like that. I don't think Dallas would have the ability," Tammie Ayers said.
She believes there are other suspects involved.
"He's never ever even had a traffic ticket in his life and the things that they're saying that he is doing, are just impossible," she said. "Somebody is still out there, somebody that put those things in the road, they're still out there."
Ultimately after hearing the testimony, a judge denied bond for Ayers saying he was a danger to himself and the community.
Below is what the judge wrote in the order keeping Ayers in custody pending trial:“The defendant is charged with having an unregistered firearm and the government contends that the defendant possessed at least seven improvised explosive devices, which he left in the public roadways over the last two months. Testimony was received by investigating agents that the defendant's fingerprints were found on some of the recovered bomb devices. Confidential sources provided information regarding the defendant's repeated activities related to bomb making; animal torture; and methamphetamine use. Results of the search of the defendant's property revealed components or items consistent with materials found in the bomb devices, as well as a copy of an identical picture that was likewise found in one of the devices.”Stay with FOX Carolina for updates on this developing story.
ADDITIONAL COVERAGE: Deputies investigating after suspicious package located in Anderson Co. Deputies confirm 2nd 'suspicious package' after Anderson Co. man injured by device in wicker basket FBI returns to Anderson Co. property to continue investigation Records: Man in FBI custody has ties to street where federal search warrant executedCopyright 2018 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.