Midshipmen charged after explosive device found

Handmade item disabled after party on Assateague Island

October 22, 2001|By Stephen Kiehl | Stephen Kiehl,SUN STAFF

Three Naval Academy midshipmen were charged during the weekend after an explosive device was found on Assateague Island near a party, according to the National Park Service Police.

The midshipmen were issued Code of Federal Regulations citations, supervisory park ranger William Reynolds said. One was charged by the park service with possession of an explosive device. The other two were charged with underage possession of alcohol.

The midshipmen, all young men, were not arrested, and their names were not released. They have returned to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, an academy spokesman said.

Late Friday night, a park ranger on routine patrol on the island came across the midshipmen, who had built a large campfire on the beach, Reynolds said. The ranger then found a handmade explosive device on the beach by the fire.

Bomb squads from the offices of the state fire marshal and the Ocean City fire marshal were called in and disabled the explosive device. No other details about it were released because of the National Park Service's continuing investigation.

The midshipmen said they built the device last week, authorities said. They planned to set it off during a party on the island Friday night, according to the state fire marshal.

Cmdr. Bill Spann, a Naval Academy spokesman, declined to comment yesterday, noting the National Park Service's jurisdiction.

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