Investigators eventually recovered all of the explosives. Their break came in late July, when the father of a friend of Homan's found several explosive cylinders in his son's duffel bag and called police.
Prosecutors said Homan and two other males broke into three storage sheds belonging to Explo-Tech Inc. in Warwick Township and made off with two backpacks of 1-kilogram cylinders labeled Trenchrite 5, a form of dynamite usually used to blast rock at construction sites.
"The Fourth of July was coming up, and he wanted some noisemakers," Mark Conte, an assistant district attorney in Chester County, said of Homan's explanation for the theft.
Conte said Homan told police he had come upon the storage sheds during a hike sometime before the theft.
Homan was sentenced Monday before Chester County Court Judge Paula F. Ott.
Another man, Joshua W. Dowzicky, 19, also of East Greenville, who prosecutors said acted as a lookout for Homan, has also pleaded guilty. No date has been set for Dowzicky's sentencing.
The case of the third male, a 16-year-old, was proceeding in juvenile court, and its status could not be determined yesterday.
Discovery of the missing explosives triggered an investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police, the FBI, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
"This is post-9/11 America," Conte said yesterday. The theft, he said, "caused a great deal of aggravation and concern. . . . They could have hurt themselves. They could have hurt innocent people."
Contact staff writer Reid Kanaley at 610-701-7637 or firstname.lastname@example.org.