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Middlebury man is charged with possessing illegal explosives; enough to make 100 devices in his home

A Middlebury man is charged with possessing illegal explosives after police found ingredients for nearly 100 devices in his home.

Marlin Petersheim, 19, was arrested Saturday and charged with possession of a destructive device, a Level 5 felony. Police say they found close to 100 small metal canisters in his home along with fuses and a one-pound bottle of propellant.

Petersheim allegedly told police he was making “firecrackers” for recreational use and that he didn’t know it was illegal.

He was booked in the Elkhart County Correctional Facility on $30,000 bond.

According to court documents:

Middlebury Police responded to a suspicious person report in Krider Park on April 26 at around 9:18 p.m. They found Petersheim and informed him he was violating park rules by being there after dark.

They asked if he had anything illegal in his car. He said, “Not that I know of,” and gave them permission to search it, according to police.

They say they found a metal tube that was about 7½ inches long with a green fuse in one end. Petersheim said it was a CO2 cannister he converted into a “firecracker” by drilling a hole in one end, filling it with gunpowder and sticking the fuse in.

He said he planned to detonate it in a field somewhere, closer to the Fourth of July, according to police. Officers confiscated the device and took Petersheim home.

Police obtained a search warrant for his home in the 13000 block of C.R. 12. They say Petersheim wasn’t home but the door was unlocked, so they went in.

Police say they found 97 small CO2 cartridges, a third of which had their ends punched out, as well as two 20-foot safety fuses. They say they also found a one-pound plastic bottle of muzzle loading propellant, though it wasn’t full, and two small funnels.

The property owner called Petersheim and told him he needed to come home. Police handcuffed Petersheim when he arrived.

He allegedly told police he expected to see them when he returned home. He said he had blown up several of the small cartridges in the past and didn’t know it was illegal to have the explosive devices until police told him.

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