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Charges against Mason City man accused of causing loud booms with device dismissed

MASON CITY — Charges have been dismissed against the man accused of causing loud booms throughout Mason City during the late night hours for several months in 2020.

47-year-old Doran Maklenburg had been charged with three Class D felony counts of unauthorized possession of an offensive weapon. Court records stated at the time of his arrest that Maklenburg was accused of filling a bag or balloon with an unknown gas and a fuse, lighting the fuse and releasing the balloon into the atmosphere, which caused an incendiary explosion.

Judge Adam Sauer in a ruling issued last week stated that the device in question is an “HHO balloon” consisting of hydrogen and oxygen run through an HHO generator. Sauer states there is no allegation that Maklenburg possessed gun powder, gasoline or black powder, and while an HHO balloon makes a loud noise, it is an implosion into itself and not an explosion.

Sauer ruled that prosecutors failed to provide sufficient evidence that an HHO balloon possessed by Maklenburg meets the definition of an offensive weapon as defined in Iowa Code and dismissed the charges. 

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