Teen jailed after police find cache of pipe bombs

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A teenager charged with possessing more than a dozen pipe bombs did not appear to have any targets for the weapons when he was arrested after fleeing a traffic accident, police said Tuesday.

Jarrett Brown, 17, was arrested Monday after police found six bombs in a car he was driving and more bombs and explosive-making chemicals in his home.

"We have no information that anything was specifically targeted," said Lt. Tony Godwin of the Cary Police Department in suburban Raleigh. "That's what we're trying to find out. Typically, people don't drive around with bombs."

A judge on Tuesday ordered the teen to remain jailed on $100,000 bond and appointed a lawyer after Brown said he could not afford one.

He was charged with 24 counts of possession of weapons of mass destruction and with hit and run.

Investigators said Brown was cooperating with them.

The discovery of the caches prompted the evacuation of a day care and dentist's office and later several houses around Brown's home.

Brown's father spoke in defense of his son to the judge and later to reporters outside the courtroom.

"He excels in chemistry, and this has probably led to him doing what he has done," Greg Brown said. "I know he had no intention of setting those things off."

The father said his son probably drove away after hitting a parked car because he knew the family's car insurance was being canceled and was nervous about a claim being filed.

Police said they discovered the explosives while investigating a hit-and-run accident Monday in front of a shopping center. No one was hurt in the hit-and-run.

A police officer recognized a vehicle matching a witness' description less than 10 minutes later and pulled it over in the dentist's parking lot. The officer said he noticed the devices in the back seat, each less than 6 inches long.

Brown allegedly later led investigators to the additional bombs and chemicals in his home. Residents in nine homes were briefly evacuated.

Police knew of no motive and said Brown, a high school senior, had not appeared to be troubled. "He's very smart, he's very bright," interim police chief Jerry Phillips said. "From what I understand he likes science."

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