- Associated Press - Friday, May 20, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Federal prosecutors charged a former U.S. Army explosives expert on Friday with illegally possessing grenades that they said were among a cache of explosives that investigators found in his Kansas home.

John Panchalk, 42, of Overland Park was charged with one count of possessing two fragmentation grenades unregistered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

Panchalk, who was arrested late Thursday after a search of his home, initially was charged by Johnson County prosecutors with one count of criminal use of explosives. But that felony was dropped Friday to give way to the federal charge.

Panchalk caught the attention of investigators Thursday when police responding to a report of a stolen vehicle at a Parkville, Missouri, self-storage site found several storage trailers vandalized, according to an affidavit by Roger Stous, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

One of them, later linked to Panchalk, contained explosives that included ammunition canisters, rocket fins, blasting caps, C-4 explosives and military grenade simulators, Stous wrote.

When investigators confronted Panchalk at his residence, authorities allege, he was evasive when asked about the trailer’s contents. An ensuing search of his home by police and federal agents uncovered 38 pounds of C-4 explosive, detonation cord, blasting caps, grenade simulators, incendiary devices and the two fragmentation grenades, court filings allege.

Online court records don’t show whether Panchalk has an attorney. Panchalk also is a firearms instructor at a Johnson County shooting range.

The federal felony is punishable by up to a decade in prison and a fine of as much as $250,000.

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