St Petersburg Times--Tampa

Tampa man charged in bomb blast

Police say the suspect detonated a pipe bomb behind an Ybor City nightclub. The man faces federal weapons charges.

By BRADY DENNIS, Times Staff Writer
St. Petersburg Times
published August 2, 2003

TAMPA - Witnesses said that as Thursday turned to Friday, Sidney Beacher paced Ybor City, talking about a bomb and how he was going to set it off.

About 12:45 a.m., in a dark, damp alley behind the Full Moon Saloon, his boasts allegedly came true. Authorities say Beacher put a pipe bomb atop a stool behind the nightclub and detonated it.

No one was injured.

But Tampa police spokesman Joe Durkin said the blast was powerful enough that anyone within a 5-foot area likely would have died.

"Had he set it off inside the business among the crowd of patrons, it would have been a real tragedy," Durkin said.

Witnesses at the scene described Beacher to police officers and told them he had been talking about bombs. Officers tracked him down at the nearby Twilight nightclub, where they arrested him.

Later in the morning, authorities got a search warrant for Beacher's home at Holiday Mobile Home Park at 7001 Interbay Blvd. . There they found four more pipe bombs and an inert M2 grenade inside a safe, investigators said.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives took over the investigation, and Beacher now faces federal weapons possession charges, Durkin said.

Records show that Beacher, who previously lived in Lutz, has encountered trouble in various aspects of his life, especially in recent years.

He has been arrested four other times in Florida since 1997, on charges such as petty larceny, contempt of court, tampering with evidence and driving with a suspended license.

Two women have filed domestic violence injunctions against him, Hillsborough records show. And the Equicredit Funding Trust in September foreclosed on his home in Lutz.

"First impressions at the scene are that he's a little unstable," Police Capt. Bob Guidara said.

Neighbors near Beacher's mobile home on Friday described him as a man who worked at clubs in Ybor City and Clearwater, kept unusual hours and talked often about troubles with his marriage and children.

Mark Travis, 40, who lives next door, said Beacher often played loud rap music late into the night and once asked if he could run an extension cord from Travis' home after Beacher's electricity was turned off. Travis said he was surprised when he heard investigators found a small stockpile of weapons at Beacher's home.

"To have that kind of stuff next door... I've got kids," Travis said. "I'm glad they got him out of there and nobody got hurt."

Hillsborough records show he was released about 4:30 p.m. Friday after posting $4,000 bail.

- Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.