Local Man Accused of Making Homemade Bombs, Placing Them Near Homes in New Bethlehem

Gavel, books and handcuffsNEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (EYT) – A New Bethlehem man is facing charges of possession of weapons of mass destruction stemming from an incident that occurred in New Bethlehem.

According to court documents, New Bethlehem Boro Police Department filed criminal charges against 19-year-old William Charles Smead, of New Bethlehem.

Smead is accused of making three pop bottle bombs in an incident last weekend.

According to a criminal complaint, at 12:33 a.m., on Saturday, December 10, Sergeant Nicole Peck, of the New Bethlehem Police Department, received a call from Clarion County 911 about a possible bomb on a front porch at 228 Penn Street in New Bethlehem.

The complaint states that Sgt. Peck was joined by State Police Troopers from the Clarion station. The owner of the residence said they arrived home at 11:00 p.m. and noticed two pop bottles on their front porch.

The bottles had a blue/purple liquid in them and were covered with numerous balls of foil. Pressure was building up in both bottles, and it was clear that the chemicals were activating and foaming. The caps were removed to stop the process, the complaint indicates.

Another bottle containing the same substance was found at 222 Penn Street, the complaint continues.

Sgt. Peck said she spoke with the tenants of the residence in the presence of their juvenile son. The son stated that Smead encouraged him and another male juvenile to make the devices after finding a video on YouTube on Smead’s cell phone, according to the complaint.

The juvenile also said that “Smead went into the bathroom and got the bathroom cleaner that was one of the ingredients in the explosive device,” the complaint states.

After the devices were made, “Smead placed two bottles on the porch at 228 Penn Street in the presence of both juvenile males. Then, the third device was left on the public sidewalk in front of 222 Penn Street so they could hear it when it exploded,” the complaint continues.

As a result of the investigation, Sgt. Peck arrested Smead.

He was arraigned at 4:10 p.m. on December 12 in front of Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey C. Miller.

He faces the following charges:

– Conspiracy – Weapons of Mass Dest. – Unlawful Possession or Manufacture, (three counts)
– Risking Catastrophe, Felony 3 (three counts)
– Corruption of Minors, Misdemeanor 2 (two counts)
– Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Misdemeanor 2

Unable to post $25,000.00 monetary bail, Smead was lodged in the Clarion County Jail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on December 20 with Judge Miller presiding.

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