PLAINFIELD Twp. – Wauseon, Ohio resident Austin James Bueter, 26, was lodged in the Iosco County jail for allegedly attempting to unlawfully drive away a motor vehicle, manufacturing a terrorism explosive device with intent to do damage, manufacturing an incendiary device and preparation to burn property.
The actual charges he now faces include one felony count of attempting to unlawfully drive away a motor vehicle, which is punishable by up to 2½ years in prison.
He also faces the misdemeanor count of being a fugitive from justice. As noted in court records, Bueter is charged in Fulton County, Ohio with the extraditable crime of assault, and he is believed to have fled from the state.
He was set for both a probable cause conference and an extradition hearing in Iosco County’s 81st District Court, at press time.
According to the Michigan State Police (MSP), a trooper was dispatched to Putnam Road in Plainfield Township, at 11:53 a.m. on May 24, for a suspicious male – Bueter – who had allegedly just left a vehicle broken down on the side of the road.
The caller advised that the steering column on the car was broken and believed it may have been stolen, police note.
While en route, the trooper was informed that another caller, who resides on Putnam Road, had also reported an incident with Bueter.
The woman told authorities that she observed Bueter going through her vehicle and purse, with her purse having been left in the vehicle.
According to the MSP, the trooper located Bueter in front of the woman’s home, where he allegedly admitted to entering the vehicle with the intent of stealing it.
It is alleged that Bueter went through the woman’s purse looking for her keys and, when he couldn’t find them, he walked over and gave the woman her purse.
As the trooper was heading to the jail with Bueter, another MSP trooper located Bueter’s vehicle near Putnam Road, parked on a dirt driveway/two track.
According to police, the gas tank access door of the vehicle was opened, the gas cap removed, papers shoved into the gas filler tube and a wire leading from the trunk, extending into the gas tank filler tube.
As stated by the MSP in court documents, this information was relayed to the MSP Bomb Squad, which advised that they considered it to be an improvised explosive device. The bomb squad responded to the scene to disarm the device and make the vehicle safe.
Authorities note that, in the meantime, troopers set up a perimeter around the car for safety.
Police state that another vehicle, a pickup truck, was located further down the driveway from where Bueter had left his car.
The MSP claims that this vehicle had the gas tank access door opened, gas cap removed and a dollar bill rolled up as a homemade wick, which was inserted into the gas filler tube.
While at the Iosco County jail, Bueter allegedly admitted to stuffing papers into his gas tank filler tube and pulling a wire out of the trunk to place it near the area of the tube.
When asked what his intention was, he allegedly replied that he “wanted to make it look like something was going on with the car.”
According to the MSP, he further advised that he left money in the pickup truck which was near his vehicle because he felt bad about being on the person’s property.
When questioned about rolling up the money and placing it in the gas filler tube, Bueter allegedly stated again that he was just leaving money.
Police note that cash had also been left under the passenger side windshield wiper.