JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Neighbors of a Jefferson County man who was arrested on Thursday and who now faces federal weapons charges say he was very visible in the community.
Richard Sandberg, 35, was arrested inside his house Thursday after allegedly telling undercover agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about his stockpile of weapons that included grenades and pipe bombs.
After Sandberg was arrested he was taken into custody and soon after made his first appearance in federal court.
While all that was going on there was a heavy police presence at the home, and many weapons were removed. One neighbor was told to evacuate and other homeowners nearby were told to stay in their homes.
“These improvised explosive devices have been transported to another location where they will be rendered safe,” ATF Special Agent Brad Beyersdorf said.
Sandberg, who claimed to be a former special ops Marine, allegedly told the undercover agents that if law enforcement officers ever raided his home he would put up a fight and they would die.
According to an arrest affidavit Sandberg would build his own explosive devices and trade them for cocaine.
He told agents he was a “demolition expert and said the US government paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars to learn how to build bombs and kill people.” Sandberg claimed his devices are “not firecrackers, not things to play with, they are life and death.” He also claimed a “right wing Declaration of Independence/Constitutionalist political manifesto.”
Authorities on Friday were trying to figure out how Sandberg obtained the military grenades that were found in the home. They were M67s, which are illegal for a civilian to possess.
Sandberg’s home is located at 4648 S. Swadley Way, near C-470 and east of Morrison. It overlooks a neighborhood park, and neighbors tell CBS4 Sandberg didn’t really keep to himself. One neighbor said he would have parties at his house late into the night.
“We think we live in this nice quiet safe little neighborhood where kids can go and play in the park and there he is right next to the park,” one neighbor told CBS4.
Another neighbor told CBS4 she thought Sandberg “wasn’t quite right.” She said he would often talk with children who hung out near or at his house.
Sandberg is being held without bond until his next court appearance. He is charged with one count of possessing an unregistered firearm, which includes explosives. If convicted he faces up to 10 years in a federal prison.
Bomb squads from Jefferson County, Denver and Colorado Springs were all involved in Thursday’s operation.