Is he a terrorist or just a sick man?
That is the question police and federal authorities are still asking after the arrest last week of George Djura Jakubec, whose rented house in Escondido, Calif., contained what local authorities called “the largest quantity of homemade explosives found in one location in the history of the United States.”
The quiet, cluttered home of the man neighbors described as very private was brought to authorities' attention when a gardener employed by Jakubec brushed set off an explosion by brushing against an explosive powder left on the back yard of the home. The gardener suffered severe injuries but is expected to recover.
Police and fire officials at first found the unemployed computer consultant reluctant to talk, but after questioning he admitted that he had hand grenades and other explosive materials in his house, according to papers filed by prosecutors. They have charged the 54-year-old Serbian-born suspect with 28 counts of possession and manufacturing destructive devices, as well as two counts of bank robbery.
Police entered the house after the arrest but later pulled back, citing the disarray and the amount of explosives, chemicals and other dangerous material scattered about the home. They returned again Thursday and, once again, decided the house was too dangerous to search.
Before evacuating, they blew up several explosive containers in the back yard, increasing tensions in the neighborhood.
The little information available on Jakubec paints a portrait of an isolated and troubled man.
Mario Garcia, the gardener who worked for him for three years, told local reporters that he barely knew Jakubec but he seemed "friendly and calm” the few times they had contact. On hot days, he would sometimes bring him a soda, he added.
Jakubec's former employer, Via Telecom, had just filed suit against him seeking more than $3,000 in back wages. The California based company charged that Jukubec simply stopped coming to work one day and that company wanted to recover the payments made for the period of time he wasn’t there.
Unemployed and divorced, he turned the suburban home, which he moved into in 2007, and its back patio into a workshop and told people he was an inventor. Before moving into the San Diego-area home, he lived for 15 years in a nearby apartment complex. Reporters who visited the complex couldn’t find anyone who remembered him.
Outside the court hearing where he was charged and held on $5 million bond, his estranged wife Marina Ivanova, told reporters simply, “He was a good man.” She declined to answer further questions.
Public records also show that he held a general contractors license from 1988 to1992 and had been issued a private pilot certificate in 1980. On his Linked-Iin account he listed current occupation as a computer consultant and stated he was looking for work.
Among the chemicals that Jakubec is accused of possessing is PETN, the powerful explosive that has shown up in prominent terrorism cases on airplanes, including the 2001 shoe bomb plot, last year's underwear bomb plot and the recent cargo plane bomb plot.
He also allegedly had a homemade supply of HMTD, an explosive often used by suicide bombers.
Both the quantity and the types of explosives have lead police and federal authorities to keep an extremely tight lid on information about the case. The judge even asked the media not to show Jakubec’s face until the investigation progresses further.
The sheriff’s office in San Diego, which is leading the investigation, had no comment on Friday and said they didn’t expect to make any more comment for the next several days.