"Curiosity" Drove Guy to Steal 550 Lbs. of TNT from Forest Service

We've all had moments of insatiable curiosity about one dangerous or at least highly-unadvisable thing or another in our lifetimes, mostly in our childhood.

It's that intense curiosity that comes from things like wondering what would happen if you, say, light a bit of cap-gun tape on fire in your desk at school in fourth grade. Or float a lit cherry bomb on a little raft in a bucket of gasoline. Or explode a 20 pound ball of Black Cat firecrackers all at once. Or urinate on an electric fence…

(Answers: Detention, a grass fire, a lifetime of tinnitus and a numb dick…)

These things are usually followed, of course, by richly-deserved feelings of shame and stupidity.

Budd James Nesius, 33, told a U.S. District Court judge this week that it was that sort of compulsive curiosity that drove him to steal 550 pounds of explosives from a U.S. Forest Service bunker near Red Lodge, Montana.

"I guess curiosity got the best of me, and I took it way too far," Nesius told Judge Susan Watters in court on Thursday, the Casper Star-Tribune reports.

Prosecutors contend that Nesius, who pleaded guilty to possession of stolen explosives, was driven by a bit more than curiosity—claiming that he tried to sell the explosives at least once, an allegation that the Wyoming man denied.

According to court records, Nesius and a friend went camping on April 26 of 2013 near Red Lodge. While the two were looking for a camp site, they happened to stumble upon the bunker—which was marked with signs warning about the explosives.

Nesius later returned to the bunker with a pair of bolt cutters, and stole 10 boxes of explosives and nearly 4,000 feet of detonation cord.

Authorities say that Nesius, after hearing that authorities were on to him, had his brother—in a moment of extreme curiosity indeed—get rid of the hot explosives by dumping them along the side of a road in the middle of the night.

Nesius is set to be sentenced in December. He could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Image via Casper Star-Tribune