Small explosions bring bomb squad to Amsterdam neighborhood

Posted at: 04/21/2014 12:09 AM
Updated at: 04/21/2014 10:39 AM
By: Steve Flamisch

AMSTERDAM – Two juveniles are facing felony charges, and a third is sought for questioning, in connection with the "bottle bombs" that rattled a block of Division St. on Sunday, police said.

Several neighbors told NewsChannel 13 they heard what sounded like fireworks or shotgun blasts during their Easter dinner.

"We heard three explosions, and we really didn't pay much mind to it because it wasn't loud, loud," Skip Richter said. "But it was loud enough to know that it wasn't just somebody dropped a piece of lumber."

Kristine Kellogg, a mother of four young children with a fifth on the way, said she feared for her family’s safety. Kellogg said she ran outside and found three juveniles chuckling about the blasts. 

"I said, 'This is serious,'" Kellogg said. "They chuckled again, and they're like, 'Oh, we made bombs.' And I'm like, 'What?' They're like, 'Oh yeah, we made bombs.' So that's when I took it upon myself to call (911)."

The first police officers reached the scene at about 5:40 p.m. to find several suspicious devices outside a vacant house at 255 Division St., Amsterdam Police Sgt. Carl Rust said. The juveniles were gone.

"The kids weren't there, of course, but the devices were there," Rust said. "So the officers quickly removed people out of the area, put the tape up, started calls for assistance."

The Amsterdam Fire Department, Greater Amsterdam Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Montgomery County Emergency Management and Sheriff’s Departments, and State Police Bomb Squad responded.

Police eventually tracked down two of the juveniles, and determined the devices were soda bottles containing household chemicals under pressure, Rust said. No one was injured.

"Throughout the day, they were playing around with this stuff," Rust said. "Obviously, the right neighbor called, and just got a response here quickly."

Five of the approximately 12 bottle bombs were still active, police said. The State Police Bomb Squad diffused them without incident. An additional six bottle bombs were found behind a factory on Yeoman St.

Two 14 year-old boys, whose names were not released due to their age, were charged with criminal possession of a weapon, placing a false bomb or hazardous substance, and reckless endangerment.

The juveniles are due to be arraigned in Montgomery County Family Court on Monday, police said. A third juvenile is still wanted for questioning.

All of the residents who were evacuated returned home by 8:30 p.m. Police extended their gratitude to the residents for their cooperation.

Editor's Note: Police initially said all three juveniles were arrested. The department on Monday provided an update, noting that only two were arrested.