AUSTIN, Texas - Police tape restricted access Monday morning to the Leander home of Steven Aldrich.
The force of the explosion that brought authorities here Saturday could clearly be seen by looking at a front window that was blown out. FOX7 AUSTIN has learned that Aldrich lost a hand in the blast which according to investigators happened as he mixed together several volatile materials.
“There were no bombs, or bomb making material found on the location ... what we had was materials that could be combined to make explosives, but there was no indication there was bomb actively being made,” said Leader Police Spokesperson Lt. Billy Fletcher.
Neighbors on Newcastle Lane say they have known for a long time that Aldrich has a dangerous fascination with explosives. John Cboins who lives across the street, told me, the occasional popping noises that they’ve heard were more nuisance than threat.
“He posed no danger to anybody, except for maybe himself, but no, nobody was afraid of him, he kept to himself and everybody respected that,” said Cboins.
Investigators were waiting for Aldrich to recover before filing any changes.
“We are currently working with the Williamson County District Attorneys Office, to determine what charges should be filed on the state side, plus we are also working with the ATF exploring what kind of federal charges may be applicable and then we are working with the Williamson County Adult probation to see what they can do on their end; because he is currently on probation,” said Lt. Fletcher.
Saturday was not the first encounter Aldrich has had with local authorities. In fact, he is somewhat of a familiar face here at the county jail. In July of 2015 the sound of explosions brought police to Newcastle Lane. Aldrich was taken into custody and eventually convicted for having a short barrel rifle which is classified as a prohibited weapon. A Williamson County judge sentenced him to eight years deferred adjudication. Officials back then had this to say about Steven Aldrich.
“Obviously its someone we really want to keep an eye on, make sure he doesn’t go further ... making larger type items. With the arrest being made, we hope that resolves the issue,” said LPD Lt Jackson Mitchell in 2015.
Unfortunately, three more mug shots would join the one taken in 2015. One came after his bond was increased. The other two; after he violated the terms of his parole. Court records obtained by FOX7 Austin show he was caught with ammunition, had failed to report to his probation supervisor and he left the county without permission.
Aldrich was able to return home after working out a deal to serve the remainder of his jail time on select days. How all this has played out; doesn’t bother John Cboins.
“I think the system did fine, I think he is the one that messed up. It’s his fault, not the system, I think the system, we do the best we can with the systems we have in place. At the end of the day, I can go inside make a bomb and blow my hand off, that’s not the system’s fault,” said Cboins.
It was determined that the materials found in the house Saturday were too volatile to haul away. APD’s Bomb Squad along with the ATF disposed of them here on site, which is why it took so long to clear the neighborhood Saturday night.