Pittsburgh man gets probation for planting explosives after 2020 riots


A man in Pittsburgh has been sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to leaving a bag of explosives downtown after riots overtook the streets last year. 

Matthew Michanowicz, 53, left a camouflage backpack in downtown Pittsburgh that he had illegally filled with “homemade destructive devices,” the Justice Department said. The bag was planted on or around May 31 of last year at PNC Plaza, according to authorities. 

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According to police, Michanowicz approached PNC Plaza on bicycle before stopping in the area. Police say that Michanowicz looked around before heading into the bushes and planting the bag.

Michanowicz claimed that he was in the area to survey damage from recent riots in the city but did not admit to planting the bag and owning the improvised weapons, despite photo and video evidence.

Michanowicz was sentenced to 18 months of time served, along with three years of supervised release. The first 180 days will keep him in home detention.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, and the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office were involved in the investigation.

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Pittsburgh saw the worst riots in decades last year after the murder of George Floyd. 

Approximately 44 rioters were arrested and 4 police hospitalized. The mob of at least 1,000 people set two police vehicles on fire. Police instituted an 8:30pm to 6am curfew over the weekend to dampen protests.

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