MARQUETTE (AP) - A man accused of placing an explosive outside a federal building in Detroit that sat unexamined inside for nearly three weeks will undergo a mental exam after declaring in court Friday that he was a former president and the governor of California.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Greeley said he was influenced by Gary Mikulich’s behavior in federal court in Marquette. Mikulich said he was a one-term president, a co-governor of California, a Secret Service officer and a U.S. marshal, WXYZ-TV reported.
Mikulich, 42, is charged with leaving a metal box containing electrical components outside the McNamara Federal Building in Detroit on Feb. 26. No one was hurt, and a bomb squad destroyed it miles away at a city park last week.
But the case has embarrassed the government because the explosive – inside a metal cash box that was in a tool bag – sat inside a building that houses the FBI, Internal Revenue Service, immigration court and other agencies for 20 days before authorities did anything with it.
Mikulich, who has an electrical engineering degree, lives in Kingsford in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, about 400 miles north of Detroit. Greeley ordered him to remain in custody and be taken to a federal psychiatric center for no more than 45 days.
His family released a statement saying he has suffered from paranoid schizophrenia for years and often fails to take medication.
The family “is truly thankful that no one was injured and is hopeful that Gary may now be forced to get the treatment that the family attempted to get him,” they said.
According to an FBI affidavit filed in court Thursday, Mikulich has complained to the police about the FBI and a “card system” more than a dozen times since January. The complaints claim the “card system” has “led to the murder of thousands of people and has attacked him.”
A Feb. 11 fax read: “This card system is going berserk for some reason. They are making threats of hitting the local police, sheriff’s office, and state police. They are threatening to murder me too.”
The FBI doesn’t “have any idea” what is meant by a “card system,” agency spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold said.
Mikulich referred to himself as “President Mikulich” and the “nominated president of the United States of America,” the FBI said.
The tool bag holding the metal box was discovered outside the building on Feb. 26 and brought inside, authorities said. It sat until a Federal Protective Service officer decided to X-ray it last week, saw electrical components and summoned the Detroit police bomb squad, the FBI said.
“We’re all a little shaken,” said Catherine Gase, 49, who works for the U.S. Small Business Administration. “I can’t imagine how that could have happened. I can’t imagine why we weren’t evacuated. … I was completely unaware of what was happening until the all-clear was announced.”
The exploded materials included pieces of PVC pipe, a timer and black electrical tape, along with a handwritten note that read, “1. Turn Switch 2. Plug, in,” agent Mark Davidson wrote in an affidavit filed in court.
The FBI is not calling it a bomb; all pieces are still being examined by experts, Berchtold said.
The Department of Homeland Security has suspended a contract security officer as it investigates why the bag and metal box sat inside the building for so long. The Federal Protective Service, which guards federal buildings, is also sending trainers to Detroit.
“It was put in a locked room, basically on the assumption that it was a lost-and-found issue. This violated all security protocols,” said David Wright, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 918, which represents Federal Protective Service officers in Detroit but not the contract guards.
The FBI said it focused on Mikulich after learning that Home Depot is the exclusive seller of the Husky tool bag. The store in Iron Mountain, near his home, sold a bag and a timer at the same time on Feb. 14, one of only nine similar sales at all U.S. locations since last fall.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.