Court docs: Man used firework to damage AT&T transmission site in Miss.
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Bond was denied Wednesday for a man accused of planting an explosive device at an AT&T site in Jefferson Davis County earlier this month.
According to a criminal complaint filed by a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Victor Joseph Schexnayder is accused of “maliciously damaging or destroying, or attempting to damage or destroy, by means of fire or an explosive, any building, vehicle, or other real or personal property used in interstate or foreign commerce.”
The investigation started around 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 8 when AT&T technicians were sent to investigate a shut-down of a phone and internet digital transmission site on Clem Road in Prentiss.
AT&T records showed the door to a steel cabinet housing electronic equipment had been opened at 2:03 that morning and closed six minutes later. Alarms indicated there were system errors that caused the entire site to shut down around 2:27 a.m.
When the technicians got to the scene, they found the doors to an equipment housing cabinet open with damage to the equipment inside.
The next day, one of the technicians took the damaged equipment to the Jefferson Davis County Sheriff’s Office, whose investigators determined the damage was likely caused by an explosion.
ATF agents called in to investigate confirmed the damage was caused by an explosion, and samples of explosive residue were collected for laboratory examination.
ATF Special Agent Michael Knoll, who filed the criminal complaint, interviewed an AT&T supervisor who said Schexnayder had recently been fired as a digital technician because of “poor performance.” The supervisor also told agents Schexnayder failed to return his AT&T-issued keys after his termination.
According to the complaint, the supervisor told agents he gave Schexnayder a ride home on the day he was fired and accidentally dropped his own keys in Schexnayder’s yard. When he returned to get his keys, the supervisor reportedly heard a loud explosion come from the rear of Schexnayder’s home. Schexnayder then approached his former supervisor, telling him he knew the supervisor was there and was trying to scare him.
The supervisor also reported Schexnayder had threatened him through text messages in the days after he was fired.
Knoll, a Mississippi Bureau of Investigation agent and Jefferson Davis County Undersheriff Terence Cooley went to Schexnayder’s home to interview him on Sept. 10.
Court documents say Schexnayder told the investigators he felt he was fired from AT&T because of a “stupid code of conduct” and his former supervisor wanted him “gone.”
Schexnayder admitted to investigators he used an “artillery” style firework to scare his former supervisor when he came to pick up his keys, but denied threatening him, the documents said.
In the complaint, Knoll said he asked Schexnayder how much damage had been caused at the AT&T transmission site and then told him the site had been destroyed. Schexnayder reportedly replied “the whole site can’t be destroyed” and then tried to backtrack on that statement.
After further questioning, Schexnayder told investigators he went to sleep on the night of Sept. 7 but woke up in the middle of the night and drove to the AT&T site on Clem Road, according to court records.
The complaint says Schexnayder admitted to opening the door of a cabinet housing electrical equipment with a pocket knife, placing an “artillery” style firework on a shelf inside the cabinet, lighting the fuse and closing the door. He then left the scene and returned home.
Court documents say Schexnayder showed the investigators a utility trailer on his property that contained several kinds of fireworks. Schexnayder then, court documents say, showed investigators the box that previously contained the firework he said he used to damage the AT&T site.
A warrant for Schexnayder’s arrest was served on Sept. 17.
You can view the full criminal complaint against Schexnayder below:
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