Saturday, 2:15 PM
Blasts rock East Bridgewater after police find explosives
(Robert E. Klein for the Boston Globe)
Troopers on the State Police bomb squad remotely controlled a robot this morning as they disarmed explosives allegedly found at a home on East Street.
By John R. Ellement and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
EAST BRIDGEWATER -- More than 30 explosions have rattled windows in a leafy neighborhood here since the State Police bomb squad descended on a yellow Colonial-style home Thursday evening and allegedly found a cache of pipe bombs, according to police and neighbors.
The largest blast came just after midnight, when authorities blanketed the area with automated phone calls warning residents to brace themselves.
"It rattled the windows," said Jim Widenfeller, who lives a fifth of a mile away. "It really rocked the neighborhood."
The owner of the yellow Colonial, Michael Ambrose, was arraigned today in Brockton District Court on charges of intimidating a witness, possession of one OxyContin pill, and 35 counts of possessing infernal machines.
Defense attorney John Creedon said after the arraignment that there was no evidence to suggest that his client was “psychotic or threatened to kill anyone.” Creedon described the explosives as a hobby for the 41-year-old landscaper who “is interested in chemistry and has been building various types of pipe bombs since his high school years.”
State Fire Marshall Stephen Coan said the pipe bombs were "very dangerous with the potential for great harm" that required the State Police bomb squad and several other agencies to work “long hours to stabilize the area and render safe those devices."
"This is one of the largest quantities of hazardous devices that has been found in one location in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in recent memory,” Coan said.
Officers executed a search warrant at Ambrose’s East Street home after receiving a tip from an Easton gun shop owner named James Sheppard, according to an East Bridgewater police report filed today in court. Sheppard told police that three weeks ago Ambrose “came into my shop in Easton saying that he gets drunk and makes booms.”
Sheppard dismissed Ambrose’s talk as nonsense until the gun dealer visited his East Bridgewater home Thursday to inspect an all-terrain vehicle he was selling, according to the report. Sheppard saw the explosives and went to police.
According to his defense attorney, Ambrose does not have a criminal record. He has licenses to possess firearms and a carry concealed weapons. Officer found eight rifles, shotguns, and handguns when they searched his home, according to the report.
Ambrose has run his own landscaping business for the last 17 years, Creedon said. He was the object of a 2005 restraining order filed in Plymouth Probate and Family Court by the mother of his daughter, who is now 5 years old. The couple also have a 6-month-old baby, according to Creedon, who did not know the child’s gender.
Police, fire, and emergency vehicles converged on Ambrose’s home Thursday at 6 p.m. Police marked off a 250-foot perimeter around the yellow house and evacuated the nearest homes. Neighbor Julie Aldrich said this morning that she has lived on East Street her entire life and never met Ambrose.
“What was he planning to do with all of that stuff?” Aldrich asked. “I hope they find that out. We all want to know that.”
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