Rockland man faces explosives charges

Multiple devices found, police say

By Vivian Ho and Stewart Bishop
Globe Correspondents / August 27, 2010

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ROCKLAND — A Rockland man with a long history of explosives violations was arrested after investigators allegedly discovered multiple improvised explosive devices during a raid at his home last night.

Acting on a search warrant, authorities discovered multiple M-class devices, which are improvised explosive devices, in the Union Street home of 59-year-old Robert Rinaldi, said Jennifer Mieth, a spokeswoman for the state fire marshal’s office.

In addition, investigating officers found materials for making many more bombs and fireworks.

“They’re all improvised explosive devices,’’ Mieth said. “On the heels of the Boston warehouse fire, I believe even the worst cynics know how dangerous fireworks could be.’’

Mieth said Rinaldi was arrested and is facing more than 160 counts, including possession of explosive devices, possession of explosive component parts, and manufacturing fireworks.

“This is an individual that’s very well known to us,’’ said State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan.

Rinaldi has been charged with explosives offenses on several occasions in the past.

In 1990, State Police, local police, and agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives discovered multiple homemade explosives at Rinaldi’s home. The following year, in 1991, Rinaldi suffered burns over 90 percent of his body after a kerosene stove blew up in a recreational vehicle he was using to manufacture illegal fireworks.

Mieth said Rinaldi and his parents later pleaded guilty to 18 counts of possession of illegal fireworks.

Rinaldi was again the subject of an investigation in 2008 after ATF agents removed explosive material and fireworks from his home in Plymouth. He was arrested twice that year.

On April 7 of that year, he was charged with six counts of possession of an infernal machine and one count of manufacture and storage of explosives without a license. On July 26, 2008, he was arrested and charged with 23 counts of possession of an infernal machine and one count of manufacture and storage of fireworks.

Neighbors expressed shock last night.

“We’ve got a school a block-and-a-half away,’’ said Liz, a neighbor who declined to give her last name. “This shouldn’t be happening here.’’

Personnel from the State Police and the Rockland Police and Fire departments, as well the state fire marshal’s office, were still on scene late last night, as hazmat crews investigated the large two-story white house. A bomb squad team was on hand.

Neighbors said Rinaldi was renting a room in the house.

“We don’t want an explosion, but we want that house gone,’’ said a neighbor who identified herself only as Mrs. Scott.

Hillary Parnaby, another neighbor, was also surprised. “This doesn’t happen in this neighborhood,’’ she said.

Travis Andersen of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.

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