4 homemade bombs found in woods Troopers to search a nearby house for more explosives

Two youths questioned

Fire marshals explode 2 bombs, seize 2

arrests expected

March 11, 1998|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Explosives experts from the state fire marshal's office detonated two homemade bombs and disarmed two more yesterday in a wooded area northeast of Westminster, as state police sought other devices believed to be stored in a nearby house.

Police sought a search warrant last night for a home on West Parisian Way, and investigators said they expected to be working into the night.

The incident began at 2: 45 p.m., when a man walking in the woods called the police after he found the bombs about a half-mile from Bennett Cerf Park at Random House Inc. on Route 27, said 1st Sgt. Andrew Mays, a police spokesman.

"They're the real deal," Mays said of the devices.

Two juveniles, ages 13 and 17, were taken into custody, Mays said. The younger boy was released without being charged, while the 17-year-old was charged as a juvenile with delinquency for possession of destructive devices, Mays said.

The fire marshal's office took control of the scene and detonated two bombs at about 6 p.m., as fire and emergency equipment stood by. Two other bombs were disarmed and kept as evidence, said Deputy Fire Marshal W. Faron Taylor.

Deputy Fire Marshal Jim Woods, a bomb technician from Hagerstown, said the four devices consisted of 2-inch-long plastic aspirin bottles filled with a black, powdery substance with fuses poked through the lids. About half a pound of suspected rifle powder also was found and will be analyzed.

"The only safe way with two of them was detonation," he said of the four bombs.

"Black powder has the capacity when it detonates to produce velocities of 1,000 feet per second or greater," Woods said. "So you can imagine being struck with a piece of plastic traveling at 1,000 feet per second. There's a real potential there."

Mays said police have information that a number of other devices are in a Westminster house, and that more arrests are expected.

John McLaughlin said his 29-year-old son, Alan, was walking his dogs in the woods, about halfway between Route 27 and their home on of Sunshine Way, "when he just fell upon it, really."

"My son came across an area that contained a tent and some camping materials," said McLaughlin, whose son was attending a college class last night. "He found a note attached to a coffee can that said 'Contained herein,' or words to that effect, 'are two pipe bombs.' He read the note, left the area and called the police."

When the troopers came, he said, "My son led them back to the area, and at that point, two young males walked into the area."

"There's no evidence that the bombs were intended for use in any criminal enterprise at this time, and it's just fortunate that no injuries occurred," Mays said. "They could take your hand off."

Pub Date: 3/11/98

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