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33-Year-Old Charles Baker Charged In Federal Court After Surrendering To ATF Agents For Role In Lawrenceville Bombing

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A Lawrenceville man has now been arrested and charged federally in connection with Sunday night's bombing on Penn Avenue.

KDKA Investigator Andy Sheehan first broke the news of the search for 33-year-old Charles Baker.

Charles Baker surrendered Tuesday night to agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

He may now be looking at an extended stay in prison.

In his 33 years, Charles Baker has led a troubled life which investigators say has been marked recently with the rampant production of homemade bombs.

Charles Baker
(Courtesy: Allegheny County)

Today, he was charged federally in connection with making and throwing an exploding device from a passing pickup on Penn Avenue on Sunday Night.

Pittsburgh IED Explosion
(Courtesy: Pittsburgh Police)

According to an affidavit, the makeshift IED consisted of a Twisted Tea can, dozens of nails and screws, car parts, and a white powdery substance -- similar to components found in this Lawrenceville row house where Baker had been living.

Witnesses say Baker has been making and deploying the devices for months.

One confidential source told federal investigators he or she witnessed Baker blowing up a portajohn on Denny Street in November — similar to an explosion on Itkin Street on the North Side days later.

Port a Potty Explosion
(Photo Credit: Chris Hoffman)

The witness also said they once saw Baker throwing a device from a bridge at the windshield of a passing train.

The affidavit confirmed Baker was aided Sunday night by an unidentified Ross Township man whose Nelson Run Road home investigators raided yesterday.

Investigators say the man had been cooperative and told them he was driving when Baker threw the device out the passenger window.

It's not clear if or when that man will be charged.


Over the past decade, Charles Baker has been arrested and convicted twice for burglary and a half dozen times on drug charges and in 2018 was sentenced to 9 to 18 months in prison for the manufacture of drugs with the intent to deliver.

He is charged now with possession of an unregistered destructive device and possession of such a device as a convicted felon which could carry additional prison time.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney Scott Brady credited the work of investigators for this arrest saying "Our city is safer today thanks to the rapid response by the Pittsburgh Police and ATF, who worked tirelessly to identify and apprehend Charles Baker. Acts of wanton violence will be met with the swift hand of justice."


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