Jonathan Grant Thompson, a 37-year-old YouTuber, has been charged with two counts of possession of an explosive device, KSL reports. The only people who could have seen this coming were any of his nearly nine million subscribers.
Thompson (who bills himself as “The King of Random”) is one of the many video creators trafficking in low-effort science experiments. It seems one such experiment posted over the summer merited a tip from a concerned citizen to the local police outside Salt Lake City in the US state of Utah.
“By putting dry ice in a sealed container you are essentially making a bomb,” Thompson told his subscribers in the June video where he had done just that, “and in most states and counties these days, dry ice bombs are illegal for obvious reasons.” Knowing this, Thompson still decided to film and upload the footage. At one point he attempts to shoot a highly pressurised but unexploded soda bottle with a BB gun.
Police showed up at Thompson’s residence two months later on 27 August, responding to the sound of explosions. He explained to police that a friend had “left him with a bag of unknown powder substance,” which he and a 20-year-old Canadian (also charged) had then tried to light on fire. The resulting explosion was audible from the nearby fire station. It’s unclear what this powder was, but a video from around this time shows Thompson making one of the key components of gunpowder from tree stump remover.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Thompson was not arrested in connection with either explosion. His court appearance is slated for 21 February.