Pine Grove Middle was not the target of the bomb, but the device may have been a test, Baltimore County prosecutors say – Baltimore Sun

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A preliminary investigation suggests the Baltimore County college near where a pipe bomb was found in a car on Tuesday was not the intended target, a county prosecutor said Thursday.

But the device, which police say was built by 43-year-old Joseph R. Vickery, may have been a test to see if it would work, according to Madison Frank of the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office. .

“In fact, it does,” Frank told District Court Judge Krystin Jane Richardson during a bail review hearing Thursday afternoon.

The device was safely disabled by authorities on Tuesday, but subsequent testing confirmed it contained materials that, combined, would be “consistent with a homemade improvised explosive mixture,” according to the charging documents.

Remnants of materials found by police during searches of Vickery’s room at a Rodeway Inn in Woodlawn and his vehicle may have been intended for a second bomb, Frank said. She said it appears the target of the device found on Tuesday or a future was her mother-in-law.

Richardson, the judge, ordered Vickery held without bail, saying it was hard to think of a “greater threat” to public safety than someone creating a pipe bomb and bringing it to a college. He is due to appear in a preliminary hearing on October 14.

Vickery was at Pine Grove Middle School performing repairs on Tuesday, according to a preliminary police investigation, Frank said.

Baltimore County Public Schools said Wednesday the system has no employees named after it. Asked on Thursday whether he might have been hired by the school system, a spokeswoman said they were unable to verify this immediately and that they “should look into the matter”.

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Vickery was represented at the hearing by the Public Defender’s Office, which a representative pointed out was only for the bail review hearing.

The public defender said Vickery had “defenses to present” at trial and requested a form of interim release, which was not granted.

Vickery is charged 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 firearms and drug offenses.

Police say he was taken into custody around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday near the school and told police there was an explosive device in his vehicle. Later in the day, during an interview with the police, he reportedly said that he had researched “IEDs” and built an explosive. He said he had no intention of harming anyone and planned to “detonate it in a remote area”, according to the charging documents.

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.

She was also held without bond Thursday on pending drug charges, but has not been charged in connection with the device. Prosecutors, however, pointed out when examining bail that she appeared to have knowledge of the device Vickery was building and was seen disposing of waste containing precursors for the manufacture of an explosive. .

Vickery’s mother-in-law, who police and prosecutors believe may have been the target of her device, later turned out to have a security system that had been tampered with, as well as sugar in her fuel tank. gasoline, Frank said Thursday.

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