Man accused of having non-operative 'suitcase bomb' at Brooklyn home

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, January 26, 2017

GOWANUS, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A self-described professional tinkerer and "master improviser" is facing charges after police found two guns, an air pistol and a non-operative "suitcase bomb" at his Brooklyn home.

Christopher Hackett, 44, of the Gowanus section, is facing a charge of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree. Investigators said Hackett is not a terrorist but a performance artist.

Inside his Butler Street loft near the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, in an extensive backyard police Wednesday recovered:

- 2 loaded defaced 22 caliber derringer firearm

- 1 air pistol

- "An alleged bomb"

The "alleged bomb" turned out to be a suitcase containing pellets, powders and canisters. The Brooklyn District Attorney's office is not prosecuting Hackett for possession of a bomb because he didn't have the materials to actually make a bomb.

Hackett told officers who showed up at his home at 11 a.m. that he was trying to make a bomb to see how easy it would be to walk around with one.

His backyard is admittedly filled with junk that he actively collects, with the goal of making make new things out of them. He uses discarded objects and other debris -he calls it "obtainium" - as components for the new devices he builds.

In 2004, he was arrested for possession of machine guns, shotguns and fireworks. He was charged with criminal possession and reckless endangerment.

At the time, Hackett maintained he was a misunderstood performance artist, building a "confetti gun" that ended up exploding in his face.

He also has prior arrests in 2006 and 2008, which have been sealed.

In Hackett's latest brush with the law, he will be arraigned on criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree in court in Downtown Brooklyn later Thursday.