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Man’s Alleged Facebook Video Asking ATF If Device ‘Is Legal’ Leads To Federal Charges


Bombs Found In Van Headed Toward Popular Tenn. County Fair: Feds

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (DOJ) – August 10, 2023 – Levi Austin Flatt, 31, of Baxter, Tennessee, was charged yesterday by federal criminal complaint with three counts related to possession of a destructive device and one count related to possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number announced United States Attorney Henry C. Leventis.

The criminal complaint alleges that on August 7, 2023, officers with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office (“PCSO”) observed a video on the Flatt’s Facebook account that depicted him holding a plastic bottle, a wine bottle, and a galvanized pipe with an endcap affixed to the end. The three items were taped together with what appears to be yellow tape. Black and white braided electrical wires hung from the device. In the video, Flatt stated: “Hey ATF, let me know if this is legal, a pound of Tannerite, a pipe bomb, and a wine bottle full of diesel…oh is that legal ATF… just let me know about this…somebody let me know.”

Later that same day, PCSO officers pulled over Flatt while he was driving less than a mile from the Putnam County Fair. Flatt exited his van with an empty holster on his right side and a fixed blade knife on his lower back. Officers searched the van and found, among other things, a fully loaded 9 mm pistol with an obliterated serial number; seven extended magazines containing 145 rounds of 9 mm ammunition; three additional suspected bombs, one of which contained metal shrapnel inside; several additional metal pipes with one end of each pipe welded closed; two Molotov cocktails; and, a receipt for a propane tank.


This case is being investigated by the ATF, FBI, Tennessee Highway Patrol – Special Operations Unit, and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Risinger is prosecuting the case.

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