Nevada man indicted after allegedly turning golf balls into weapons

Posted at 2:57 PM, Jun 29, 2018

LAS VEGAS — A Nevada man was indicted on several charges after allegedly turning golf balls into weapons and possessing silencers.

Ricky Taylor is facing charges of manufacture or possession of an explosive or incendiary device, possession of a silencer, possession of a component of an explosive or incendiary device with intent to manufacture an explosive or incendiary device and possession of a controlled substance, according to court documents filed on Thursday.

According to Taylor's arrest report, a housekeeper at Budget Suites found a bag of plastic guns and several golf ball-shaped items after he had checked out of his room on May 19. There was also a black plastic bottle labeled "hodgdon pyrodex muzzleloading propellant" and also had "danger extremely flammable" written in red on the bottom. Pyrodex is commonly used as black gunpowder substitute that burns cleaner with less smoke. 

The housekeeper notified her manager. The manager responded and picked up the balls, noticing that it rattled as if it had small metal items in it. The manager then contacted police. 

The bomb squad responded and discovered the black golf ball appeared to have been cut, reopened and resealed using some type of adhesive. Inside the golf ball, there were small caliber bullets that had small BBs glued to the back, small black powder believed to be black gunpowder and small shards of glass. An ATF agent determined that the item would function if it were thrown or dropped. 

Taylor was taken into custody the next day in a Von's parking lot on Las Vegas Boulevard. He told police that he had made several golf ball-type devices that he launched with a slingshot. Taylor also told police he didn't recall putting any black powder in the balls but did put tempered glass and salt in the golf balls to add a stinging sensation. 

 "The fact that he put salt and glass inside means he probably did intend to hurt somebody," retired FBI Agent Scott Decker said.

Decker spent more than 20 years with the FBI investigating some of the worst attacks the country has seen including the anthrax attacks.  He's even written a book about that investigation, but says explosive golf balls are "novel."

According to his arrest report, Taylor said he likes to tinker with making things and "pushing the limits" to what he is allowed to have since he has a felony conviction. 

Several weeks later on June 14, police used a search warrant to search a building that Taylor had occupied. In the garage, police found a black plastic pop-up sprinkler that appeared to be converted to act as a silencer for a firearm. Another silencer was also found on an air gun. 

In addition to the silencers, police found methamphetamine in the residence.