A business associate and former boyfriend of the woman killed in an Aliso Viejo building explosion was behind bars Friday and facing a single count of possessing an unregistered destructive device, but he has not been charged with anything in connection with the deadly blast.
Attorneys for Stephen Beal, 59, will return to court on Monday to discuss bail and scheduling.
According to an FBI affidavit filed Thursday in federal court in Santa Ana, investigators who searched Beal’s Long Beach home found “two completed improvised explosive devices and three firearms,” and none of them were registered.
The FBI affidavit confirmed that the explosion that killed 48-year-old beautician Ildiko Krajnyak in Aliso Viejo Tuesday afternoon occurred when she used some type of tool to open a brown cardboard box that had been set on the floor near the front counter of her day spa.
The explosion occurred around 1:10 p.m. Tuesday inside the Magyar Kozmetika spa on the first floor of the building at 11 Mareblu. Krajnyak was killed and two other women, who were customers at the spa, were seriously injured.
According to the FBI affidavit, one of the injured women told investigators that while she was at the spa, she noticed “lots of mail piled up along with three to four brown cardboard boxes on the floor next to the counter.” The woman said she saw Krajnyak pick up one of the boxes, place it on the front counter and open it.
“As soon as Krajnyak opened the box, (the witness) stated that the box exploded and recalled being blown backwards by the explosion onto the floor,” according to the document. “She also saw flames and smoke.”
The other woman in the spa at the time told investigators she was also knocked to the ground by the blast, and she described “seeing everything on fire,” according to the affidavit.
The affidavit, written by FBI special agent Evan Jesch, states that Beal was leasing the space that housed the day spa operated by Krajnyak. They met in June 2016 through an online dating app and they dated until February or March of this year, when they broke up over financial issues and “disputes over the exclusivity of the relationship.”
Beal, however, paid the $1,500 per month rent for the day spa and half the operating costs. He told investigators the lease was in his name because Krajnyak had filed for bankruptcy, according to the affidavit. The couple also co-own a cosmetics business called 888 Unlimited.
Jesch wrote that investigators found about 130 pounds of explosives or “precursors” in Beal’s home, most of it in the garage and the rest in a pool house. Beal told agents he was a model rocket hobbyist, but hasn’t actively pursued it for nearly 14 years and hadn’t touched the equipment since. He said he used to also make fireworks, but stopped after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to the affidavit.
During the search of his home, however, investigators found two cardboard tubes that had been rigged as explosives, but Beal claimed “that he had not made any bombs or anything that catch on or cause a fire.” He also told investigators that he had built another small device with a long fuse “to assist with his neighbor’s gopher problem,” according to the affidavit.