Some supervillains commit acts of terror because they just want to watch the world burn. Some act as part of a confused mission to save the world. Some do it for the stock options. We’re serious about that last part; that was the plot of one of the Mission: Impossible films.

Florida man Mark Charles Barnett fell into that last category. His idea was to bomb a bunch of Target stores. The stock price would plummet, he reasoned, and then it would rebound after a bit, when people realized the bombs were a one-time thing and said nothing about Target long-term. He’d buy the stock during the dip then make a fortune during the recovery. Or rather, he’d buy stock options during the dip. Options are more volatile than stocks, and he figured he could multiply his money tenfold this way if he knew for sure the stock would soar. 

His bombs would be homemade and small, made of batteries, wires, and other everyday items that the FBI would rather we not disclose here. The bombs wouldn’t level stores or blow holes in walls. He’d just slip them into food items like stuffing and packaged pasta. The bombs would injure or kill customers, temporarily scaring everyone off buying Target merchandise. 

Barnett couldn’t place the bombs himself, since he wanted to spread them across many different stores, all along the east coast. He found a partner to plant some of the bombs for him, and he offered a $10,000 payout. This partner just happened to be an FBI criminal informant, who shared his plan with the authorities in 2017. 

When the Department of Justice announced Barnett’s arrest, they noted that he was also a registered sex offender, though since he was a Florida man, this almost went without saying. He had previously been convicted of sexual assault, grand theft, and multiple kidnappings in multiple states, before being let out of prison in 2013. This time, they sentenced the 50-year-old to 40 more years. By catching him in time, they saved a whole lot of people’s hands from being blown off ... if the bombs ever detonated. We’re not totally sure Barnett’s rubber band and model rocket motor igniter contraptions would have actually worked. 

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For more bombing targets, check out:

4 Ridiculous Things That Caused Recent Bomb Scares

Cutting Wires Is the Last Resort (Shotguns Are the First) 

A Harvard Professor Became a Real-Life Supervillain 

Follow Ryan Menezes on Twitter for more stuff no one should see. 

Top image: Justice Department

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