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Newell man facing charges for explosives

| Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, 12:22 a.m.

Police filed charges Friday against a Newell man in whose home they discovered military and industrial explosives this week.

Belle Vernon Magisterial District Judge Jesse Cramer issued a warrant for Jeffrey Wilson, 58, who lives in the 102 Miller St. residence. Southwest Regional Police said Wilson is “out of state.”

Wilson was charged with four counts each of felony receiving stolen property and possession of prohibited offensive weapons, three counts of possession or transportation of alcohol, illegal alcohol, and one count of possession of weapons of mass destruction, causing or risking a catastrophe.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Allegheny County Police Bomb Squad are assisting in the investigation.

Southwest Regional Chief John Hartman said there are “questions as yet unanswered.”

Southwest Regional officers found the explosives Monday in a back room of the basement. Wilson was not home at the time.

Police originally went to Wilson's residence in search of the two guns as a part of an investigation into a burglary ring that struck several homes in Newell over a five-month period.

A burglary reported Oct. 11 at a residence at 206 Long St. provided a break in that case.

In October, Mark Anthony Burnett, 18, of 409 Miller St., Newell, and Michael Sawyer, 21, of 922 Evan St., Jeannette, were each charged with three counts of burglary, criminal conspiracy aiding, theft by unlawful taking-movable property, and receiving stolen property.

Matthew Von Kerik, 21, of 136 Fourth St., Newell, was charged with two counts each of burglary, criminal conspiracy aiding, theft by unlawful taking-movable property, and receiving stolen property.

The firearms, which police did not believe Wilson stole, were never found. While conducting the search, officers discovered several metal ammunition boxes. Authorities determined that one of the boxes contained potentially explosive material.

The bomb squad determined the residence contained 76.6 feet of military detonation cord, 6.6 feet of military fuse, 46 railway torpedoes, two military M-18 red smoke grenades and 40 railway fuses.

All explosive material was determined to be old and/or unstable.

The bomb squad took the explosives to its facility at the Pittsburgh International Airport.

During the search, officers also seized two illegal double-edged knives, one double-edged sword, one double-edged spear, several magazines full of apparent AK-47 rounds and three bottles of suspected “moonshine” whiskey.

Anyone with information on Wilson's whereabouts is asked to call police at 724-929-8484 or by messaging police on Facebook at Southwest Reg Pd.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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