Arrest in Massive New Haven Explosives Bust

Police have arrested a 49-year-old man after a large amount of explosives was found in a home in New Haven.

Emergency crews found hundreds of pounds of commercial-grade explosives in a home in New Haven that included the same types of explosive material used during the Boston Marathon bombing.

Police responded to 35 Westminster St. around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday to investigate a domestic incident and responding officers found so many explosives that local officials said they could have leveled all the houses in the area had they gone off.

Pasquale Criscio was arrested Thursday afternoon and charged with illegal manufacturing of explosives and bombs, illegal possession of explosives, illegal possession and storage of fireworks and risk of injury to a minor.

The risk of injury to a minor charge stemmed from the fact that there were a 15-year-old and a 6-year-old children in the house along with the explosive materials, police said.

Criscio lives in the house, but is not the homeowner, according to police.

"We're talking several hundreds of pounds of black powder that you can obtain legally, but with all the other chemicals that were there, rightfully so, they elevated it to an explosive manufacturing factory," said New Haven Fire Chief John Alston Jr., who gave credit to the officer who noticed the substantial amount of explosives and acted quickly. 

On Wednesday evening, the New Haven Police bomb squad, as well as state police, were called in and authorities determined there was no imminent public hazard and the house was secured overnight until crews obtained a search warrant Thursday.

During a news conference on Thursday afternoon, officials said the explosives were found throughout the home, as well as in storage outside.  

"This was not stored in any organized way. There are piles and piles in virtually every room of this home. This was a tinderbox waiting to go," Officer David Hartman said.

Alston said they had concerns about heat, friction and shock impact that could cause the materials to explode.

"It's very close to other residences, so you could have had a major catastrophe had that officer not given the heads up right away," he said.

The investigation is still ongoing.

"There's a lot in that house. There's a lot for investigators to go through, so this is going to take some time," Hartman said.

Contact Us