Police: Man rigged Federal Heights mobile home with more than a dozen IEDs before setting it ablaze

Posted at 2:42 PM, Jan 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-19 00:33:52-05

FEDERAL HEIGHTS, Colo. — More than a dozen explosive devices were found inside the charred remains of a mobile home in Federal Heights Thursday, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed to Denver7.

Approximately 12 devices were recovered and made safe and two other explosive devices were being worked on as of Thursday afternoon. Police said additional devices had been identified and were pending retrieval and rendering safe, according to a press release from the police department. 

The owner of the mobile home, 56-year-old Steven Richard Truetken, was arrested for allegedly starting the fire Wednesday. He told Adams County authorities he placed homemade explosives inside the trailer home before setting it ablaze.

The fire was spotted at around 4:27 p.m. by AIRTRACKER7 near the area of Moselle and Tejon Streets, not too far from the Water World water park.

Plumes of white smoke could be seen for miles as firefighters from North Metro Fire and several neighboring agencies assisted in putting the fire out.

Members of an Adams County bomb squad, along with ATF agents, were at the scene of the fire Thursday morning. The explosive devices were found in the home after a bomb-disarming robot was sent in. It’s not clear what type of explosives were found during the search.

Truetken told police he had planned this event for some time and that he intentionally "introduced gasoline into and around the home of his neighbor, and ignited the gasoline knowing that at least one person was in the home,” according to a press release sent to Denver7. 

The suspect told police he had run a hose from his water heater gas line into the home and planned to fill it with natural gas so he could destroy his home, but failed to activate the valve. A possible motive was not released.

During the fire, the area around the mobile homes was evacuated. Those who were displaced were staying at Resound Church up the street from Water World. The majority of the evacuated residents were allowed to return home late Wednesday. No injuries were reported.

Court records obtained by Denver7 show Truetken has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 1982. Records show he has been charged with burglary, traffic violations including DUI, third-degree assault, carrying a concealed weapon, harassment, resisting arrest, obstructing a peace officer, among others.

Court records also show he has had issues with other neighbors in the past. Two different groups of neighbors have been granted protection orders again him, and in 2012, he plead guilty to menacing with a weapon.

“The kids were really small, and they were, I think, playing in his yard and he pulled a gun on them,” said Mike Canacari, a longtime neighbor who said the SWAT was called in that time, too. “He's prejudiced. I think he's a White Supremacist, and that's how he feels.”

Truetken is being held at the Adams County Detention Facility and is facing multiple charges including criminal attempt second-degree murder.

Denver7's attempts to contact a public defender for Truetken were unsuccessful as of Thursday afternoon.