Owner of chemical sales firm arrested in explosion probe

QUAKERTOWN, Pa. – The owner of a house on the basis of chemical sales company, has been arrested in connection with a series of mysterious explosions over the past three months in a suburb of Philadelphia, authorities said Thursday.

Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub said a 30-year-old David Surman Jr. was arrested on charges of weapons of mass destruction, recklessly endangering, possession of methamphetamines and other counts after the search warrants were executed at his home and his business. Weintraub shared a photo during a press conference from an 18-inch bomb with four fuses, which he said was ready to be detonated.

He refused to speculate how much damage it may have caused.

“What we have found are several explosives in this residence,” he said, pointing to a photo of the biggest bomb. “This is what we believe to be a large bomb that was capable of weapons of mass destruction.”

Federal agents earlier detonated a number of devices on one of the locations. Weintraub, says the charges are related to the material seized and Thursday, and the researchers were sending material to a lab in Quantico, Virginia to see if they could be forensically linked to nearly 30 explosions and seven confirmed blast sites over the last two months.

About three dozen explosions were reported in Bucks County since the beginning of April, usually in the middle of the night. No one is hurt.

Weintraub said the incidents were linked to a person nicknamed the “mad Top Dollar Bomber.”

On June 14, as a municipal worker on a riding mower was cutting grass along a road, when he ran across something that explodes, causing a 2-meter-deep (0.6-meter) crater.

Together with photos of the devices and chemicals found Thursday, Weintraub showed photos of collages and drawings created by Surman. In one, made of cut-out pictures and images, he pasted his image, and his girlfriend in an SUV driving away from an explosion with a large cat and dog in the foreground. Another hand drawn notes included a swastika, but Weintraub said he would not speculate or Surman belonged to a hate group.

“These speak for themselves,” he said.

Weintraub said the investigation involving the FBI and federal ATF agents is ongoing and more charges are possible depending on the question or the forensic link to the previous devices and explosions. He said nothing contained shrapnel that he was aware of.

Weintraub also said the girlfriend, whose name was refused, was cooperative and had not been charged.

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