A federal magistrate today ordered an Ellicott City man held without bond pending a detention hearing Wednesday on a conspiracy charge tied to the attempted bombing of two large chemical storage tanks in Norfolk, Va., last week.
Prosecutor Ira L. Oring requested detention without bond pending trial for defendant Charles Edward Gresham Jr., 57, of the 3800 block of Spring Meadow Drive, on grounds that he is a danger to the community and that there is a risk of flight to avoid prosecution.
The FBI arrested Gresham at his home Saturday and charged him with conspiracy to defraud his insurance company through wire and mail fraud.
Gresham, who owns Applied Technology Inc. in Ellicott City, leased one of the targeted tanks, 10 miles from the Norfolk naval base. One tank contained highly flammable methanol. The other contained less volatile sodium hydrosulfide that Gresham owned. An employee of Allied Terminals Inc. found six crude pipe bombs attached to the tanks last Monday.
FBI officials said two other defendants, Joseph Wayne Openshaw, 36, of St. Johns, Ariz., and Cecil Ross, 31, of Glendale, Ariz., were arraigned Saturday in U.S. District court in Phoenix, Ariz.
Defense Attorney Joshua R. Treem said in court today the FBI obtained statements from Gresham and subjected him to a lie detector test after his arrest. Oring said he did not know the results of those activities.
In an affidavit, the FBI said Gresham tried to hire a Virginia Beach man to blow up a storage tank adjacent to the tank that contained his chemicals, but eventually hired someone else.
The Virginia Beach man told the FBI of the scheme.
The affidavit also said Openshaw admitted the scheme.