According to a report from Radiožurnál, workers at the Vrbětice ammunition depot that Russian secret service agencies are accused of destroying in 2014 were given unexpected time off the day before the attack at the request of their boss. Instead of a full staff showing up to work that day, just the owner, Petr Bernatík Jr. arrived at the warehouse.
According to Radiožurnál’s sources, it was completely abnormal for Bernatík to go into the warehouse unaccompanied. This odd behavior was reportedly picked up by Czech police, who detained him in February for 48 hours for questioning on the incident. His arrest was approved by a public prosecutor in Brno who told Radiožurnál’s reporters, “Don’t be mad, but I can’t say anything about the course of the investigation.”
Lawyers for Imex Group, the company that was storing their products in the warehouse at the time of the explosion, said that it was purely a coincidence that Bernatík instructed the part-time workers to take time off the day before their workplace exploded in flames.
“The part-timers were managed by Petřík, so he logically told them to stay home because he had something else to work on in Ostrava and they couldn’t be there without him.”
Despite avoiding media, Petr Bernatík was tracked down by Radiožurnál, but simply told them:
“I’m going to tell you this again. Leave me alone. I won’t communicate with you. Again, you know very well that you have to communicate with Dr. Ondruš,” he said, referring to his lawyer.
The ammunitions depot that Bernatík was overseeing was blown up in October of 2014, and Czech officials are alleging that Russian secret service were involved, potentially attempting to prevent the depot from selling ammunitions to Russian enemies, though the details of the investiation are unclear.
Two Czechs were killed in the explosion, and two Russian nationals, who allegedly escaped via a plane to Moscow from Vienna, are currently wanted by the Czech Republic.