ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ - The area around 4th Avenue and Ocean Boulevard was cordoned off yesterday afternoon as police investigated an explosive device found by a homeowner. The homemade incidiary device resembled a large black cylinder about three inches long and an inch in diameter with a fuse. "It was packed solid with another binding agent," said Detective Sergeant Thomas Stone. Police believe the device may have been in the homeowner's front yard for a few days and suspect local youth may have been following directions from a YouTube video to craft the crude device.
On Tuesday, October 18th, the Atlantic Highlands Police Department received a call at 5:35 PM from an Ocean Blvd. resident stating that he believed that he had discovered a homemade explosive device. Sergeant John Weighell and Patrolman Adam Gurian responded locating what they believed to be an explosive device, possibly a pipe bomb that was in the grass near the side walk at Ocean Blvd & Fourth Ave.
Chief Jerry Vasto and Detective Sergeant Thomas Stone responded to the scene to assist with the investigation. The New Jersey State Police Arson and Bomb Unit was requested along with the Atlantic Highlands Fire Department and First Aid Squad. The area was secured for the safety of local residents and emergency personnel for about two hours. The NJSP Bomb Unit Officers were able to determine what the device was and defuse it safely during that time. Specific information about the device is not available at this time due to the ongoing investigation. All units cleared from the area by 8:00 PM.
"If it had ignited, it could have caused a fire and (small) explosion," said Det. Sgt. Stone, "But not the kind of damage we see out in the world."
Police believe the device is the result of local youth emulating what they have seen online on services like YouTube and Vimeo about creating homemade explosives. Police said it could be the actions of a "10- or 12-year old, or maybe a 20-year old being a knucklehead. We are looking to stop (this activity) before it happens again and someone is seriously injured," said Stone.
The incident is still under investigation by Detective Sergeant Stone, NJSP and the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office. The Office of the Director of Homeland Security has been consulted.
Anyone with information that may be helpful to the investigation is requested to contact the Atlantic Highlands Police Department at (732) 291-1212. As always, all calls remain confidential.