HINGHAM -- A judge said today that a Rockland man who allegedly stashed hundreds of homemade explosives in his apartment "should not see the light of day'' because of the danger he created for his neighbors and public safety officials.
"I've never seen anything like this,'' Hingham District Court Judge Ronald F. Moynahan said during the arraignment of Robert A. Rinaldi, who has been prosecuted for illegal possession of fireworks and explosive multiple times since the 1990s. "He put a town and a community at risk, the fire and police departments and the ATF at risk, children at risk -- for money.''
Moynahan then set bail for Rinaldi at $1 million cash, saying from the bench, "the defendant should not see the light of day.''
Rinaldi, 59, today pleaded not guilty to 210 counts of possession of explosive devices, possession of explosive components, and the manufacture and storage of explosives, charges that were brought after public safety officials searched his Union Street apartment Thursday night.
Prosecutors said Rinaldi earns money by making commercial-grade fireworks and selling them on the black market. He then uses the proceeds to finance his hobby, which is detonating fireworks.
When authorities searched his home last night, Rinaldi was free on $100 cash bail after he was arrested in 2008 and charged with 23 counts of possession of an infernal machine and one count of manufacture and storage of fireworks.
Today, Moynahan revoked his bail on the 2008 case.
Jennifer Mieth, spokeswoman for state Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan, said today it is extremely dangerous for someone to make their own fireworks, especially if it is done in a residential neighborhood.
Authorities recovered dozens of fireworks powerful enough to be considered equal to a quarter-stick of dynamite, officials said.
"The problem is that these homemade devices have no quality control and that is one reason they are called improvised explosive devices. The bomb squad cannot know, by looking at them, what the explosive filler is nor how much is inside each device,'' Mieth said in an e-mail to the Globe.
She added, "In fact, they can have no idea of the explosive power of each individual, unpredictable device, which is one of the things that makes them so dangerous. The devices are extremely sensitive to heat, shock and friction, which would set them off.''
In 1990, State Police, local police, and agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives discovered multiple homemade explosives at Rinaldi’s home. The following year, Rinaldi suffered burns over 90 percent of his body after a kerosene stove blew up in a recreational vehicle he was using to manufacture illegal fireworks.
The search of the Rockland residence was conducted by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, State Police assigned to Coan's office and Rockland police and fire departments.
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