A vehicle near Pine Grove Middle had an 'improvised destructive device' made with a cardboard tube and a toy car receiver, Baltimore County Police say

A vehicle near Pine Grove Middle had an ‘improvised destructive device’ made with a cardboard tube and a toy car receiver, Baltimore County Police say

The vehicle near Pine Grove Middle School that prompted evacuations on Tuesday contained a cardboard “improvised destructive device” and a toy car receiver, Baltimore County police said in charging documents filed in district court .

After disabling the device, a test identified that it contained materials which, in combination, are “consistent with a homemade improvised explosive mixture”, police wrote.

The Baltimore County Police Hazardous Devices Team identified that the device’s “initiation system” involved two wires and a small package of match heads, according to the charging documents. This would have allowed the device to “turn on/initiate by remote control”, police wrote.

Joseph R. Vickery is charged in Baltimore County District Court with possession of an explosive or incendiary device with intent to create a destructive device and knowingly making, possessing, or distributing a destructive device, as well as felonies related to firearms and drugs.

Police said the vehicle found outside Pine Grove Middle School belonged to Vickery and was directly across from the school entrance. According to the charging documents, he admitted to building an explosive device.

No attorneys are listed for Vickery in online court records.

The investigation that led police to the device began with a report to Mount Airy police about a suspect who may be trying to make an improvised explosive device. Baltimore County Police were contacted after Howard County Police tracked Vickery’s cell phone to a Rodeway Inn in Woodlawn.

On Tuesday, police evacuated two schools, searched the Rodeway Inn, where Vickery was staying, and closed roads in two areas of Baltimore County as part of the hazardous device investigation. Officials said Tuesday that two people were arrested and a device was found in a vehicle on the campus of Pine Grove Middle School, but declined to say what it was.

Vickery’s charging documents say he was found by Baltimore County police around Parkville College in northern Baltimore County. He allegedly told police there was an “explosive device inside his vehicle,” according to the charging documents.

In an interview, he told police he researched “IEDs” and built an explosive device, according to charging documents. He said he had no intention of hurting anyone and planned to “detonate it in a remote area”.

A woman also arrested by police on Tuesday told officers in an interview that Vickery began searching for explosives “shortly after a falling out with her mother.”

A search of his vehicle also uncovered fertilizer, a table stove, tubes and handwritten bomb-making instructions, according to the charging documents.

Materials used to make explosive devices were also found during the excavation of Vickery’s Rodeway Inn bedroom. Police write that officers guarding the building after receiving tips from other officers saw a woman throwing trash into a sidewalk receptacle.

A detective took the trash and found receipts and items that police identified as “precursors to the manufacture of explosive devices”.

Subsequent excavation of the room uncovered the materials used to make explosives, as well as drugs and drug paraphernalia. They include a remote-controlled car, ammonium nitrate-free medical cold packs and two propane bottles.

A woman also charged in district court told police the drugs and paraphernalia found at the Rodeway Inn belonged to her, according to charging documents. According to police, the items contained or were used for heroin. She does not face criminal charges in connection with destructive devices.

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Mount Airy Police Chief Doug Reitz said Wednesday his department was investigating a suspect in a robbery case when an officer obtained information that the suspect may have searched for and purchased materials for an explosive device. . They contacted other authorities and eventually used cellphone records to find his location in Baltimore County. Mount Airy is located in Carroll and Frederick counties.

“You get a small-town officer somewhere taking a bit of information, something seems minor in nature, but all of a sudden turns into a major issue that has this impact throughout the region,” Reitz said. “It could have gone wrong in a different way, had the authorities not been contacted and responded as they did so quickly.”

Pine Grove High School was evacuated around noon Tuesday. Pine Grove Elementary School was evacuated about an hour and a half later.

Authorities said all the children were safe. Pine Grove middle and elementary schools had resumed normal operations Wednesday morning.

Detective Trae Corbin, a spokesperson for the Baltimore County Police, said Tuesday the department’s Hazardous Devices Team took a “controlled” action to investigate a device found inside a vehicle on the college campus.

He said Tuesday, following that action, that there was no threat.

Baltimore Sun reporter Ngan Ho contributed to this article.

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