A Sheboygan County man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for making amateur fireworks in his home. Daniel Shilts sobbed in court on Monday as Judge Kent Hoffmann sentenced him on nine counts of nine counts of possession of an improvised explosive device and one count of possession of explosive making materials. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss 41 other counts.
Shilts had been on extended supervision on a previous case of making explosives when an explosion occurred at his home in the village of Waldo in February. An ATF agent said in the criminal complaint against Shilts that if the entirety of the 51 improvised fireworks found inside the home had gone off , the blast would have destroyed Shilts’ home and damaged or destroyed neighboring homes.
District Attorney Joe DeCecco said Shilts’ obsession with fireworks was endangering his community.
“There’s a reason there’s federal licences for this. There’s a reason where the professionals have separate buildings for different chemicals in case something happens. There’s a reason for that, because this stuff is frickin’ dangerous,” DeCecco said. “He’s not a bad guy. He’s got get away from this compulsion to do this, and I don’t know of any other way to do it.
The 43-year-old Shilts will also spend 15 years on extended supervision, and will not be eligible for early release this time.