Three men are facing charges in Douglas County Circuit Court for possessing improvised explosives, as well as other charges, after one of them was injured when the device they created exploded.

Jeffrey Robert Strenke, 32, of Superior, Lyle Herman Kunert III, 35, of South Range, and Brandon Darrel Rolstad, 29, of Oakland, are accused of being a party to the crime of possession of improvised explosives and obstructing an officer when they made up a story about how the injury occurred.

Strenke, the victim of the explosion, was also charged with possession of a short-barreled shotgun or rifle, when Douglas County sheriff’s deputies discovered a rifle with both the barrel and the wooden stock sawed off in a basement bedroom of the Rolstad home where Strenke was staying at the time.

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According to the criminal complaints:

Deputies were dispatched Jan. 13 to the Rolstad home on Jacksino Road on a report that a male there had blown off his hand with a shotgun shell. When the first deputy arrived on the scene, Strenke was lying on his back in the driveway with a woman sitting next to him, and Rolstad and Kunert were standing nearby.

The deputy assessed Strenke’s injury, and it appeared most of his right hand was missing, but there was no active bleeding that warranted a tourniquet. Mayo Ambulance arrived, and Strenke was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth.

Another deputy arrived and the officers questioned Rolstad and Kunert about what happened.

Initially they told deputies they were welding a part for a small child’s four-wheeler and ignited a shotgun shell, causing it to explode and injure Strenke. However, deputies saw no evidence to support the claim that Strenke was injured in the garage as they claimed. Both were later interviewed at the sheriff’s office by a detective who didn’t find their story credible either. Eventually, Kunert and Rolstad admitted they had all been involved in making the device that exploded in Strenke’s hand.

The device was made using a pipe closed on one end packed with gun powder and wadding, and it was ignited with the wick of a firework.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office conducted a warrant search of the property with the assistance of the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office bomb squad, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They discovered the place where the device exploded and recovered evidence that included half a human finger and debris from the glove Strenke had been wearing.

The blast amputated part of the second digit of Strenke’s right hand, cause joint dislocation in the third and fourth digits and the thumb was displaced, partially degloved, and rotated about 160 degrees, according to the criminal complaint against him.

On June 16, the court found probable cause to bind over Rolstad and Kunert for arraignment on the felony charges for the explosive device. Their arraignments are scheduled for Aug. 2 and Aug. 9, respectively.

Strenke waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday, June 30, and is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 30.