GLEN BURNIE, Md. - Anne Arundel County Fire Department Chief Michael Cox said Tuesday during a news conference that "a domestic terror event" was prevented following the arrest last week of a Glen Burnie man who had the materials and the manuals to make bombs.
"These materials were capable of maiming, injuring or killing human beings," said Chief Cox.
Todd Wheeler Jr., of the 900 block of Edgerly Road, has been charged with two counts of manufacturing a destructive device, two counts of possessing a destructive device and one count of reckless endangerment. Additional federal and state charges are pending.
According to the Anne Arundel County Police Department, officers were dispatched Jan. 1 to a home on Oakdale Circle in Millersville for a report of a potential suicidal man. Officers found that Wheeler had serious injuries to his upper body.
"...became suspicious of his story, suspicious of his injuries, and suspicious of his distinct chemical odor," said Chief Kevin Davis, Anne Arundel Co. Police Dept.
Wheeler was then transported to Baltimore Washington Medical Center with what appeared to be a chemical or mechanical reaction. Concern over those injuries led to police and fire investigators to search Wheeler's Edgerly Road home.
Over the course of searching the house, which took place between Jan. 2 and 3, officials located numerous completed destructive devices. More than 100 pounds of chemicals including acids, fuels, oxidizers and explosive precursors were located. Additional destructive device components including igniters and detonators were also found.
"So it would have taken out the house and the surrounding houses. The potential was there for that. It doesn't mean that each device would do that. It means that the potential is there to have that sort of blast raised," said Capt. Robert Howarth, fire investigator.
Investigators also found instruction manuals and books detailing explosive manufacturing and booby traps. In addition, weapons including guns and knives were also found throughout the home. According to police and fire officials, 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.
"We don't know the suspect's intentions," Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman said.