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Local man charged with possession of explosives


January 27, 2010
LANCASTER—The Whitefield Police Department recently arrested Bruce Kilkenny, 61, at his 92 Kimball Hill Road residence after he was allegedly found intoxicated and in possession of explosives, including a grenade.

On Jan. 20, a concerned neighbor reported to police that he felt Mr. Kilkenny, who is a veteran, and other's safety were in jeopardy due to his inebriated state and items he had in his house.

Sergeant Edward Samson responded to the scene and observed that Mr. Kilkenny appeared passed out on the couch and several items that appeared to be explosive materials were visible, according to a WPD search warrant.

Sgt. Samson left and came back with Chief William Colborn and took Mr. Kilkenny into custody. According to Chief Colborn Mr. Kilkenny was very compliant inviting the officers into the house and leaving with them without incident.

A search warrant was issued by Judge Paul Desjardins and Trooper First Class Jeffrey Dade of the Bomb Squad was called in to confiscate the materials in a kevlar container. The items confiscated included: 41 caps for trip flares, two M7A3 CS grenades, six military electric blasting caps, seven commercial electric blasting caps, one pineapple training grenade, one M49A1 surface flare, one green hobby fuse, one pen initiator, two M142 firing devices, one M57 firing device, three M118 smoke trip flares and one 50 caliber round.

The damage a person could do with such items depends on a number of variables including how and where they are used, according to Trooper Dade.

"It's heavily influenced in which environment they are used," said Trooper Dade.

It is clear, however, that they held the potential to harm and kill Mr. Kilkenny and possibly those around him if misused, according to Trooper Dade.

Mr. Kilkenny is being charged with a misdemeanor for being in possession of the blasting caps without having a license or permit to do so. There are no further charges pending at this time, but according to Trooper Dade, "some or most of those items (found) met the definition for an infernal machine."

As defined by RSA 158:35 "an 'infernal machine' shall mean any device which would endanger life or do damage to property, or both, by fire or explosion." It is a felony to possess any device that can endanger life or property by fire or explosion.

According to Trooper Dade, cases like this are not uncommon throughout the state and the majority of the time people have explosives as pieces of military nostalgia and general curiosity. He also noted that back in the early days of the Vietnam War it was not difficult to hold onto such items as personal trophies since airport security wasn't as tight.

Trooper Dade also noted that the WPD has been more proactive then the majority of similar cases he has seen. "They have done more then most police agencies do," he said, "Often these things don't get charged at all."

He added that in most cases people like Mr. Kilkenny are not charged to the full extent of the statute because most people involved are either unaware of the potential damage such items can cause or do not have the mind set to use them. Chief Colborn believes Mr. Kilkenny falls into that category. "I didn't think he had any criminal intent," said Chief Colborn.

Although testing is still underway, upon first impression, Trooper Dade believes Mr. Kilkenny's confiscated items to be mostly from the 1970's and early 1980's.

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