SF police find more combustible materials at home of SoMa explosion suspect

After an explosion blew out the windows of a building in South of Market on Sunday, police searched the home of a suspect and found “lots and lots of explosive-making materials,” according to a prosecutor.

Mustapha Math, 37, allegedly set off an explosive device that shattered dozens of small window panes on the first and second stories of a building at Second Street and Taber Place that morning.

The explosion happened inside the alleyway next to Small Foods, a grocery store and cafe. No one was injured in the explosion.

Math was arrested after police detained another man at the scene who identified him as the suspect, according to authorities. He lives about a block away from the explosion at 102 South Park St.

Assistant District Attorney Andrew Clark said in court Wednesday that Math had the explosive-making materials mailed to his home. Police discovered the ingredients, as well as heroin, while searching the residence.

But Deputy Public Defender Michelle Tong argued in court that police arrested the wrong man. “He lives in the same building as the other [man], who I believe is the actual perpetrator,” Tong said.

Clark did not offer a motive for the explosion.

Broken glass litters the pavement on Taber Place in the South of Market area on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019 as San Francisco Police investigate an explosion that occurred Sunday morning. (Victor Tence/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Math is a longtime San Francisco resident who is receives food stamps, methadone treatment and mental health services, according to Tong. He has a part-time job sweeping sidewalks and streets with the Downtown Streets Team, a city program that employs homeless individuals.

Math pleaded not guilty to all charges. He is facing seven felonies and one misdemeanor including possession of a destructive device, explosion of a destructive device with intent to injure and possession of ingredients to make an explosion device, according to court records.

The criminal complaint against Math also alleges he smuggled heroin into a jail or prison on Sunday, the same day he was booked into County Jail.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Teresa Caffese set bail at $100,000.

Math is scheduled to return to court Jan. 30 for a preliminary hearing.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

Michael Barba
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