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Pipe bombs found in home, arrest made

Shown on the far left is 14 McLaren St., Gloversville where Gloversville Police were dispatched to Friday at approximately 5:30 p.m. to check on the welfare of an individual who had sent messages to family members that indicated they may be a threat to themselves. During the investigation, police entered the residence and observed suspicious items they were not equipped to address. Residents in the immediate area were evacuated, and additional resources were called to the scene, according to police. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

GLOVERSVILLE — An arrest has been made following the incident that occurred at 14 McLaren St. on Feb. 12, that led Gloversville Police to evacuate the surrounding area after observing pipe bombs inside the residence, and an execution of a search warrant resulted in the recovery of several items that could be used to manufacture explosive devices.

Michael D. Darling, 41, was charged with unlawful possession of an unregistered destructive device for allegedly possessing six capped metal pipes that appeared to contain propellant powder and BB’s, along with rolls of fuse, a container of pyrodex and other items that could be used to manufacture explosive devices.

If convicted, Darling can face up to 10 years in federal prison and up to three years of post-imprisonment supervised release.

According to the affidavit, on Feb. 12, GPD were contacted by Darling’s girlfriend who reported Darling had left a suicide note. During a welfare check, police observed what appeared to be a pipe bomb and evacuated the surrounding area. A search warrant was granted by Fulton County Judge Polly Hoye. Members of the state police Bomb Disposal Unit and GPD executed the search warrant and recovered: Rolls of fuse, container of pyrodex, threaded pipes with caps drilled out containing quantities of fuse, threaded pipe sections, threaded pipe end caps with holes drilled, rocket engines, mercury switch and soldering iron.

“More specifically, the items located include six threaded metal pipe bombs with enclosed end caps on both sides. There was a hole drilled in the pipes to accept a Visco fuse as a means of initiation,” the affidavit states. “X-ray examination of the pipes revealed what appeared to be a propellent powder, likely Pyrodex, inside the pipe along with what appeared to be ‘BB’s.'”

Due to the nature of the recovered items, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were contacted.

Darling — represented by attorney Joe McCoy — virtually appeared before Hon. Christian Hummel of the Northern District of New York U.S. Court for a detention hearing was held Thursday, and although the hearing was postponed to Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rob Sharpe claimed Darling to be a risk of flight and a danger to himself and the community. Sharpe’s statement went through the timeline of events between Feb. 12 and Feb.14; and gave a detailed list of items recovered from the 14 McLaren St. residence.

Out of the items recovered, Sharpe said, “The mercury switch is problematic and concerning because generally how that is utilized, from what I understand, and from what was described is that, that type of detonator switch is used directed toward the people who would discover the pipe bomb. It’s liquid and if the liquid gets unbalanced, the pipe bomb goes off.”

He continued saying that the BB’s also inside the pipe bomb, “are designed to do additional significant damage to whomever discovers those pipe bombs when they go off.”

Sharpe stated that Darling was not home on Feb. 12 when police arrived at 14 McLaren St., and when police executed the search warrant.

Sharpe said Darling allegedly left his house at some point on Feb. 12 with large bags believed to potentially contain firearms or other pipe bombs and travelled out of state to Denton, North Carolina. During that trip, Darling allegedly stopped in Lynchburg, Virginia and turned off his phone for some period of time.

“The police in terms of their investigation, located the couple he went to see in Denton, North Carolina. The police have located and spoken with both of those persons,” Sharpe said.

He continued stating that Darling had allegedly given them the bag which contained two firearms — a 20 gauge shotgun and a .308 rifle.

Sharpe said Darling and one of the North Carolina residents returned to the 14 McLaren St. residence sometime on Feb. 14, and Darling was brought to St. Mary’s Hospital. The police then went back to the McLaren residence on Feb. 14 to make sure there were no other pipe bombs or firearms and there was not.

Sharpe said Darling has a criminal history and has a history of suicide attempts.

He said Darling has had several suicide attempts in the past.

“Over various times throughout his life there have been mental health issues,” Sharpe said.

Darling was previously convicted of third-degree burglary in which he was sentenced one and one-third years to four years in prison in May 2009 and was released in June 2011.

He noted that Darling also has a past military background and a past engineering background from having been in the military.

Due to Darling’s past, and the events that took place between Feb. 12 and Feb. 14, “We think this speaks to the issue that he is a danger to the community and certainly potentially to himself,” Sharpe said.

Since he allegedly went to North Carolina, they believe him to be a risk of flight.

Darling’s attorney, McCoy, was unaware of his alleged trip to North Carolina and additional firearms, and requested time to look over those documents and to review it with Darling, therefore, the detention hearing was adjourned until Wednesday at 2.p.m.

“I’ve heard about suicide, contacts with family relatives and family friends, but there’s nothing to indicate that he had any intention to harm anyone other than himself,” McCoy said.

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