The New Haven man arrested after officers found massive amounts of explosives in his home told police officers he is not a terrorist, claims he was doing nothing illegal and said he makes the fireworks every year to put on a show for the neighborhood.
Police responded to 35 Westminster St. at 5:52 p.m. on Wednesday to investigate a domestic dispute and a woman told the officers that she was at the house, trying to take her belongings, when she got into an altercation with her ex-husband, Pasquale Criscio, because of the fireworks he had there, according to court documents.
She told them she took photos of the fireworks and the argument then got physical.
Police then asked the 49-year-old Criscio about whether he had fireworks and he initially lied about them, but then a child in the house presented a tube used to light off projectiles, according to court records.
When officers continued to ask about the fireworks, Criscio opened the basement door, revealing what appeared to be an explosive device.
Officers then ordered everyone out of the house, reported what they found to the department and sent along photos of what they were able to see, according to the court documents.
While Criscio was sitting in the police cruiser, he said he “made the fireworks and is not a terrorist,” according to police.
He told authorities he was embarrassed about the bomb squad showing up at his house and that his neighbors would “think he is a terrorist,” police said.
Criscio went on to explain that he “makes fireworks every year to do a show for the neighborhood,” court records say.
He also told them he was in the process of trying to get a license to build explosives, but he’s a hobbyist and what he does is legal because he “wasn’t selling them.”
Criscio was charged with breach of peace and two counts of a risk of injury because 15-year-old and a 6-year-old children were present, according to court documents.
After evacuating the house, police called in the bomb squad. Once they were sure there was no imminent danger, they secured the scene and waited on a warrant to go inside and investigate further.
That is when authorities found what they called hundreds of pounds of explosives, which New Haven Fire Chief John Alston said could have exploded the entire block if they went off.
Officer David Hartman said there were piles of explosives in virtually every room of the home and some were the same type used during the Boston Marathon bombing.
On Thursday evening, police have also charged Criscio with illegal manufacturing of explosives and bombs, illegal possession of explosives, illegal possession and storage of fireworks.
In Friday, he appeared in court and shook his head as prosecutors described what they say could have been a catastrophe.
Bond was set at $40,000.
Another person in the home was charged with beach of peace, third-degree strangulation and risk of injury after the domestic incident. Police have not publicly identified the person.
The children in the home have been placed with other family members.