A Craiglist posting by a Madison man got more attention than he probably wanted. He was looking for a mechanic to build an explosive device. What he got was an undercover ATF agent, to whom 76 year old Jansson Wheeler offered $500 for an explosive device. “Mr. Wheeler actually placed an advertisement on Milwaukee’s Craigslist, looking from someone to put together . . . an explosive device,” said Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain. “An ATF agent contacted Mr. Wheeler, and indicated he would put together a bomb for him.”
“The target of this device evidently is a man who lives in Montana, and this person is a friend of the suspect’s estranged wife,” DeSpain explained. Wheeler’s estranged wife is Dorothy Wheeler, a former Dane County supervisor, and Wheeler is former Madison Common Council alder. Police arrested Wheeler Monday at his Madison home. DeSpain said Wheeler was wearing latex gloves when officers arrived at his north side home. “It appeared he was going to try to keep his fingerprints off this so-called explosive device. This is an inert device that was delivered. And he was going to put that in some package and mail it off to Montana.” Wheeler was taken into custody on Monday, on a tentative charge of Attempting to Possess Explosives.