Photo evidence, surveillance video released of San Jose transformer explosion suspect

Zach Fuentes Image
Thursday, March 9, 2023
Photo evidence, surveillance video released of SJ explosion suspect
Investigators say the surveillance video helped link Peter Karasev to two explosions of PG&E transformers in San Jose.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose police released new surveillance video Wednesday of the man accused of having explosives in his San Jose home.

Investigators say the video helped link Peter Karasev to two explosions of PG&E transformers back in Dec. 2022 and Jan. 2023.

It was a scene that displaced neighbors and had both local and federal agencies investigating for four days.

San Jose police say the 36-year-old Karasev had a large amount of explosives in the home on Potomac Court.

RELATED: Man arrested for blowing up PG&E transformers in San Jose, police say

A suspected arrested for possessing large amounts of explosives in his San Jose home is believed to have blown up PG&E transformers, SJPD says.

Last week, they revealed that the investigation into him started with two separate incidents in Dec. and Jan.

Both involving explosive devices that blew up PG&E transformers in San Jose.

"This could be a very dark day," said San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan at the Wednesday press conference held by police. "We could be talking about very serious tragedy with significant harm and potentially loss of life."

Now, San Jose police say the new surveillance video shows the Jan. 5 incident on Snell Avenue.

It was during the course of that Jan. investigation that a connection was made to a similar incident that happened on Dec. 8, 2022 near Oakridge Mall.

RELATED: SJ neighbors return home, exhale after police remove explosive materials from suspect's house

Through the surveillance video along with video shot by a nearby Tesla and cell phone data, San Jose police say they were able to link Karasev to the explosions.

The suspect, who is a software engineer at a company that develops self-driving cars, was arrested at work in Foster City.

Police also released new images and details of the explosives that were found in the home.

"Various items were seized, including a homemade liquid explosive, multiple energetic homemade destructive devices and multiple suspected destructive devices," said Assistant Police Chief Paul Joseph with the San Jose Police Department. "Other materials for making destructive devices were also found including pipes, wires, fuses and various chemicals."

There were so many explosives in the home described as volatile that federal help from the FBI, DEA, National Guard and other agencies had to be called in.

"The amount of potential material that we found within that location (could cause) a fire or cause an actual explosion, (impacting) the entire community, including the school just across the street, was large," said Sergeant Doug Gates who is on the police department's bomb squad.

Police say Karasev lived at the San Jose home with his wife and three children and is facing child endangerment. In total, he's been charged with nine felonies.

Police say they still don't have any evidence about his motive.

He is still in jail and is expected back in court on April 26.

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