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Massive cache of explosives, bomb manuals found in Maryland home

Anne Arundel County, Md., Fire Department

Maryland authorities on Tuesday showed off materials seized from the home of Todd Dwight Wheeler Jr. on New Year's Day.

A Maryland man was being held on $400,000 bond Tuesday after local, state and federal authorities discovered working bombs, more than 100 pounds of bomb-making chemicals and numerous manuals for creating bombs and booby traps in his home, police said.

The man, Todd Dwight Wheeler Jr., 28, of Glen Burnie, near Baltimore, was held on two counts of making explosives, two counts of possessing explosive materials and one single count of reckless endangerment. Federal charges were pending.

Anne Arundel County police said they had no idea what Wheeler might have been planning, because he's refusing to cooperate, but "what is clear is that these materials were capable of maiming, killing or injuring human beings," Anne Arundel County Fire Chief Michael Cox said at a news conference Tuesday.

The bombs, if exploded, would have a blast radius of more than 150 feet — big enough to "have taken out the house and the surrounding houses," said fire Capt. Robert Howarth, the lead investigator. 

Anne Arundel County, Md., police

Todd Dwight Wheeler Jr. was held on two counts of manufacturing a destructive device, two counts of possessing a destructive device and one count of reckless endangerment.

Wheeler was arrested on New Year's Day after police were called to his address by a relative who was concerned that he might be suicidal, police said in a statement Tuesday. He appeared to have injuries consistent with those caused by a chemical reaction, they said.

The fire department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were called in, and in the past week, they've been removing and cataloging all of the dangerous materials stashed in the suburban house, which they showed off to reporters Tuesday:

  • Numerous completed bombs.
  • More than 100 pounds of chemicals, including acids, fuels, oxidizers and explosives precursors.
  • Glass jars labeled "ammonium chloride," sulfur" and "potassium chlorate."
  • Additional components of destructive devices, including igniters and detonators.
  • Instruction manuals and books detailing explosive manufacturing and booby traps, with titles like "The Poor Man's James Bond," "Booby Traps," "Deadly Brew" and "Highly Explosive Pyrotechnic Compositions."
  • Miscellaneous weapons, including an automatic Ruger Mini-14 rifle, other guns and knives.
  • Unspecified "controlled dangerous substances" and packaging materials.

"The potential damage to any of the homes in the vicinity the residence would have been extensive if any of the devices would have detonated," the fire department said.

Wheeler was scheduled for a preliminary hearing Jan. 29 in Anne Arundel County District Court.

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