SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — The FBI and police released more details Wednesday about a man who allegedly stockpiled highly explosive bomb-making chemicals inside his home and blew up PG&E transformers around San Jose.

Peter Karasev, 35, lived at 668 Potomac Court in San Jose with his three young children and wife until last week, when he was arrested and a bomb squad descended on his house.

During Wednesday’s press conference, a San Jose Police Department bomb squad captain said the entire Potomac Court neighborhood, as well as a school across the street, faced a “huge danger” from how many explosives were inside.

Investigators discovered that his 1-year-old baby, 3-year-old daughter, and 5-year-old son were living in a home riddled with extreme hazards, according to court documents.

Police found “Chemicals, drugs, firearms within easy reach of children. It was not a safe environment for children, or for anyone,” Assistant Chief of Police Paul Joseph said.

Mayor Matt Mahan said, “This could have been a very dark day. Thanks to months of investigations and good-old-fashioned boots on the ground detective work, (police prevented) a serious tragedy.”

Investigators said Karasev planted multiple bombs targeting infrastructure around San Jose, including when he blew up PG&E transformers in December and January. He was recorded on surveillance cameras riding on a bicycle to and from the bomb sites, police said.

Peter Karasev
Peter Karasev (Mugshot provided by San Jose PD)

What was Karasev’s motive for allegedly planting bombs?

“We don’t know. We are looking at all possibilities. If anyone has information, please call us,” Joseph said. He noted that the investigation was still on-going as of Wednesday.

Karasev was arrested by SJPD on March 1. Prosecutors charged Karasev with three counts of child endangerment, arson, igniting a destructive device with intent to injure or intimidate, interfering with electrical lines, and possessing materials with intent to make an explosive device.

His wife was ruled out as a possible accomplice.

When he was questioned by detectives, Karasev said he was interested in building model rockets, used meth, and was concerned about the war in Ukraine. “Karasev admitted to using methamphetamine. Karasev also mentioned having a difficult time with the current war between Russia and the Ukraine because he had family in both countries and on both sides,” a police detective wrote.

He told detectives that he tried to design rockets that launched, but not blow up. “He’s a highly educated person,” Joseph said. “I don’t know that he has formal training in explosives and bomb making but he’s very educated in a science field.”

Court documents show Karasev earned a degree from Georgia Institute of Technology.

FBI Special Agent Robert Tripp said, “All of us at the scene last week took a methodical approach to collecting evidence, to ensure no evidence was overlooked, and to ensure the safety (of) the surrounding neighborhood.”

Police said Karasev’s three young children, including a baby, had access to five guns in the house. (SJPD photo)
(SJPD image)
(SJPD photo)
(SJPD photo)

Bay Area law enforcement first became suspicious of Karasev in 2021 when one of his children was found crying alone, court documents obtained by KRON4 revealed.

During the time of the May 2021 incident, Karasev was living on Flower Lane in Mountain View. A Mountain View Police Department officer found a child, who was between 2-3 years old, “crying and attempting to run into the street. I saw multiple bystanders standing on the sidewalk around the child.”