A Hillsborough County woman whose alarmed parents discovered a trove of pipe bombs, weapons and bomb making materials in her bedroom was arrested by Tampa Bay area authorities Friday.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a news conference that Michelle Louise Kolts, 27, of Wimauma, was arrested shortly after midnight and charged with 24 counts of making a destructive device with the intent to do bodily harm or property damage, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
"If used, these bombs could have caused catastrophic damage to hundreds, if not thousands of people," he said. "Something tremendous was prevented."
She's being held in the county jail in Tampa without bail.
The sheriff said that a year ago, authorities were called when she ordered a large quantity of disturbing material, including bomb-making manuals, from an online printer.
"She became consumed with the Columbine and Oklahoma killings," Chronister said. "She wasn't diagnosed with any type of mental health diagnosis at the time. She stated, at that time, her intentions were not to harm anyone."
On Thursday evening, he said Kolts' parents found the pipe bombs and other concerning items in her bedroom and called the sheriff's office. Deputies discovered two dozen pipe bombs, smokeless pistol powder, fused material, 23 knives, two hatchets, nunchucks, two BB pellet type rifles, six BB pellet type handguns, and dozens of books and DVDs about murder, mass killings, bomb-making and domestic terrorism.
Because officers were so worried about the potential hazards of the materials, they left the home with the parents and called the agency's bomb squad. Meanwhile, authorities found Kolts at her job. She was cooperative when officers took her into custody.
He declined to say where she'd planned to detonate the bombs, and said she admitted making the devices and wanting to hurt people.
The sheriff said the parents' swift action should be an example for anyone who notices a loved one amassing weapons or disturbing items.
"Both parents were in the military, and they couldn't have been more cooperative," he said. "It's because of these parents, who knows what type of catastrophic event was prevented in the Tampa Bay area?"