VERO BEACH — A Vero Beach man accused early Sunday morning of having an explosive device aboard a boat is in custody facing a felony charge, according to jail records and an arrest report released Monday.
Michael Ferris, 39, is being held at the Indian River County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bond after Vero Beach police found an “improvised explosive device” in the cabin of a 30-foot sailboat he was living on at the Vero Beach Municipal Marina in the Indian River Lagoon, reports show.
He’s charged with a felony count of making or possessing a destructive device.
The incident began after Vero Beach Police were contacted Saturday night by Marble Head Police in Massachusetts, to report a woman reported that her brother sent her a video “advising her that he made a bomb and was going to ‘take it to the airport.’”
It’s unclear what airport Ferris was referencing, but when Vero Beach police located him aboard a blue sailboat, officers found a suspected explosive device inside a gray backpack on the floor toward the front of the cabin.
Felony charge: Vero Beach man arrested in suspected bomb threat
Members of the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office bomb squad, who were called in to assist, X-rayed the device and found the devise “contained two butane bottles, 1-gallon water bottle, flare gun, electrical wires, a capacitator and a circuit board.”
The butane, a report stated, was a “possible fuel source,” and the capacitator was a “possible ignition device,” which prompted the bomb squad to detonate the device.
Ferris told officers “the bomb he constructed on his boat was a ‘dummy bomb,’ and that the device and the video sent to a relative were “a cry for help,” an arrest report said.
He also said he suffered from mental illness, and that there was a person inside his head named “Rudy” who was “brainwashing him through LSD and psychotherapy.”
Ferris “stated that “Rudy has been psychically controlling him and that he is no longer in control of his vessel and that he does not know who is controlling him half the time,” court records stated.
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He had sought out treatment in the past, Ferris said, but “he has not yet been able to receive the help he needs.”
Court records show Ferris was ordered Tuesday to appear in Mental Health Court before Indian River County Judge Nicole Menz.
Melissa E. Holsman is the legal affairs reporter for TCPalm and Treasure Coast Newspapers, and is writer and co-host of Uncertain Terms, a true crime podcast.