The Coast News Group
Not That You Asked

What was behind the Escondido bomb house?

Was it a dispute over severance pay that led a man to turn his rented Escondido house into a manufacturing plant where accidents happen?
Did he think his best source of start-up capital would be a big bank, like the Bank of America? He had an account there into which the telecom company that fired him made a direct deposit of his pay.
Was it severance pay, the $3,000 that his employer directly deposited in his account shortly after firing him three years ago this month? Or was it an overpayment, as the ex-employer alleged in a lawsuit that resulted in a judgment against the dismissed worker?
Whatever it was, George Jacubek, the occupant of what prosecutors called a bomb factory near Nordahl Road and El Norte Parkway, is said to have signed and dated photographs of three different heists — one netting only $1,480 — at branch offices of Bank of America. The last job, which netted $10,400, took place this past July at a branch just down the street from his former employer’s place of business in Carmel Valley.
The alleged total take was just shy of $55,000. How many grenades could you fabricate with that kind of money?
Do we have here a disgruntled ex-employee, now none too gainfully self-employed, fuming, steaming and planning over the nearly three years since his firing to make a statement and make things right?
Does he assuage his feelings of disgruntlement by showing a thing or two to his ex-employer, a company called Via Telecom, and anyone who gets in the way?
It’s a theory to be entertained. Real and present danger is a different matter altogether.
On Nov. 18, a landscaper at the Jacubek property stepped on what would look to us like a patch of granulated sugar that exploded and sent him to the hospital with severe injuries.
The next day, authorities shut down Interstate 15 for three hours to detonate a half-dozen canisters of chemicals in the backyard. Over the next two days, it became more and more apparent that the place was far too dangerous to be in and around, no matter how savvy the most elite bomb squad would be.
Then, 12 days later, on Nov. 30, Sheriff Bill Gore declared that the only way to neutralize the threat was to torch the place. Nine days later, on Dec. 9, by remote control, it was. By all available accounts, the planned burn leveled only the Jacubek residence, leaving but a fireplace and chimney behind, and damaged nothing else.
The night before the big burn, I drove over to Escondido and joined the television crews and sheriff’s deputies at the corner of Via Alexandria and Nutmeg Street. (Nordahl changes names to Nutmeg north of El Norte). We were escorted a couple of football fields down the way to the edge of Via Scott. A “for sale” sign hung from a post. A thick stand of trees and large shrubbery a few hundred feet away hid the house from view.
We could see the top of a section of a 16-foot wall built to keep the fire from jumping onto the closest neighbor’s house. Banks of lights bright enough for night baseball lit up the scene. Teams of deputies went door to door through the neighborhood to ensure that households had evacuated or planned to leave.
I went back there again after the burn to see that the shrubbery in the yard was intact and still camouflaged the house, or what was left of it. A neighbor across the way on Via Alexandria was settling back into her house, her friends who’d presumably put her up saying goodbye and driving away in a black SUV. A generator was on, humming and rumbling, powering the bank of blazing lights. A mobile command center was parked along the curb. The wall still stood and the house it shielded was dark, just as it had been those four nights earlier.
Motive? Who knows what might lurk in the dark corners of the souls of men who, however misguided, feel wronged?