Man accused of threatening to blow up Provo buildings

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Federal prosecutors have filed charges against a man accused of threatening to blow up government buildings in Provo.

Keith Max Pierce, 34, appeared in U.S. District Court on Thursday on federal weapons violations. He was ordered to remain in federal custody pending a detention hearing on Monday.

According to a complaint unsealed by a federal judge, Pierce first came on the FBI's radar in November when a confidential source told agents he had made statements about "bombing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in Provo, the Provo Police Department, and a court building (believed to be the Provo City Justice Court)."

The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force used an undercover agent to make a gun deal with Pierce for a fully automatic AR-15 rifle, the federal complaint said. He was arrested shortly after the weapon was delivered.

"The automatic rifle had an obliterated serial number," said Loren Cannon, the assistant special agent-in-charge for the Salt Lake City Division of the FBI.

The charging documents claim Pierce admitted that the firearm was illegal, telling an informant: "I got a felony in the back seat that will get me ten years."

Federal agents refuse to say if Pierce had sold other illegal firearms. The FBI also would not say how seriously they believed the threats to government buildings were.

"We feel at this point we have fully mitigated a threat to the community and at every step of the investigation, we were evaluating the potential threat to the community and trying to make sure we were on top of that and taking whatever action was most appropriate," Cannon said.