Warrant on explosives suspect reveals big picture danger with GPS devices

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The man accused of trying to set off an explosive device inside a Fresno Panera restaurant may be mentally incompetent to stand trial, according to his defense attorney.

The failed attempt at setting off a bomb was the last straw for Chad Mazgedian, but even before that, police say he was dangerous.

A warrant says they caught him using an altered cell phone so he'd always know where his ex-wife was going.

"Your Honor, at this time I'm going to declare a doubt as to his competence," said public defender Tomas Kunder.

With those words, five criminal cases against Mazgedian screeched to a halt until a doctor ensures he's capable of assisting in his own defense.

The 43-year-old faces charges for allegedly running into a northwest Fresno restaurant and trying to set off a homemade explosive device, but it's not the first charge.

He racked up a DUI, domestic violence, and an elder abuse accusation in the months before last week's explosive incident.

Legal analyst Ralph Torres says it looks like a common progression for someone whose life is spiraling out of control.

"They all have mental health at its core," Torres said. "And you have to have questions about that, but it doesn't mean someone who is suicidal or has built a bomb is necessarily insane."

Sometimes escalation is just what happens in domestic violence cases, according to Torres.

In Mazgedian's case, he's been under restraining orders dating back to 2017, but a search warrant reveals he always seemed to know where his ex-wife was.

In January, police say she found out how. Someone watched him put a homemade GPS device on her parked vehicle.

Torres says cheap GPS devices make this crime a big concern for domestic violence victims.

"If they could, they'd be in their car following that person to their best they could, but now they have technology where they could do it by computer," he said.

Illegally using a tracking device is just a misdemeanor, but Mazgedian could face more than 17 years in prison if he's convicted on all the charges against him.

The doctor's report on his mental status is due in May.
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