Oklahoma’s Hard Rock Casino Explosive Discovery Leads to Arrest

Posted on: January 14, 2022, 08:03h. 

Last updated on: January 14, 2022, 11:40h.

A man remains behind bars Friday after he allegedly placed an improvised explosive device (IED) at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Catoosa, Okla. The homemade IED was discovered Tuesday night in a bag outside of the tribal gaming venue.

Zachary Schmidt Oklahoma Casino Explosives
Zachary Schmidt in a mug shot. He was charged after an IED was found at an Oklahoma casino. (Image: ATF)

Within hours, Zachary Schmidt, 32, was arrested on a possession of explosives device charge. He was booked at the Rogers County Detention Center, where he remains in custody.

Schmidt’s bond was set at $50,000, according to jail records. He is scheduled to appear in court next Thursday.

Caught on Tape

Cherokee Nation security guards spotted the bag under exterior stairs, KOKI, a local TV station, reported. The IED was transported to a safe spot and specialized bomb teams were notified to dispose of the device. The situation was resolved without injury.

After finding the bag, authorities checked the surveillance video. They said they were able to identify Schmidt as the person who left the IED by the stairs.

He was apprehended at a convenience store near the casino. He admitted to leaving the bag, but said he did not manufacture the IED, KOKI said.

IED Found in Dumpster

Schmidt claimed he discovered the IED in a dumpster. He picked it up and then got a ride to the casino, KWTV, another local TV station, reported. He thought it was a type of fireworks, the report said.

The casino is located about 15 miles east of Tulsa. It is a Cherokee Nation Entertainment property.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) field office in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Catoosa Police Department, and Rogers County Sherriff’s Office also assisted.

Disaster Avoided

“This could have been a catastrophic event if it wasn’t for the quick thinking of Cherokee Nation security. It could have been disastrous,” Tulsa ATF Senior Special Agent Ashley Stephens was quoted by KWTV.

We are always cautioning that these aren’t fireworks. When you start manipulating even a consumer firework, you are putting yourself in danger, you are putting others in danger.”

In an unrelated incident, an explosive device was discovered outside of a Bartlesville, Okla. Walgreens. Authorities are still looking for a suspect in that case.

In another incident, a former security guard at Pennsylvania’s Presque Isle Downs & Casino was sentenced to prison after he allegedly phoned in a fake bomb threat to the gaming property. Norman Antuzzi, 48, of Erie, Pa. will serve at least one to six months.