Bay Area man charged with building bomb in Pennsylvania

A recent Bay Area high school grad was arrested in Pennsylvania for building weapons of mass destruction and growing pot.
January 26, 2014 6:17:43 PM PST
A recent Bay Area high school graduate is in trouble with the law. He's been charged with growing marijuana and building a bomb.

Vladislav Miftakhov is a Russian national who graduated from Carlmont High School in Belmont last year. The 19-year-old Penn State University student was arrested in Altoona, Pennsylvania on charges of possessing a weapon of mass destruction and growing pot.

His friends and former classmates cannot believe this is the same teen they went to high school with last year.

"I was completely speechless and I was freaking out like, oh my god, I knew this kid!" exclaimed Carlmont High School senior Katrine Petrov.

Petrov can't believe her friend was arrested back east, suspected of building bombs. Miftakhov was going to college, studying engineering in Altoona, when police charged him with possessing weapons of mass destruction. A bomb found in a Miftakhov's suitcase was disarmed.

Andrew Leff lives in the same apartment building as the bomb suspect.

"He's the weirdest human being I've ever met, to be honest," Leff said. "He was always doing abstract things but never really anything dangerous like this before. I'm hoping for the best for him, but I really hope I never see him again because, like, he's a dangerous kid."

According to a criminal complaint, Miftakhov purchased bomb-making materials on the Internet. When asked by investigators what he was going to do with them, he said he was going to "blow things up."

Miftakhov was born in Moscow but has lived the last several years with his family in San Carlos. At a home on Exeter Avenue, someone told me through the door that no one would comment until they got a lawyer.

"Quiet, did his work, came to class every day," said former Carlmont High School student Shira Stein.

Miftakhov graduated from Carlmont High School last spring. Former classmates and friends are painting a much different picture of the teen.

"When we would talk, he was nothing about weapons in general or bombs or anything," Petrov said. "We would talk about random stuff, like school-wise."

Miftakhov told police he experimented with explosives in California, but was not specific.

He's being held on $500,000 bail.

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