NEWPORT CITY – Three Northeast Kingdom men were in court yesterday, charged with making and possessing a pipe bomb.
Cody Macfarlane, 23, of Newport; Nathaniel Chaffee, 24, of Newport; and John Glover, 24, of Barton all entered not guilty pleas in Orleans County Court. Judge Robert Bent held Chaffee and Glover on $5,000 bail and Macfarlane on $7,500.
David Jacobs of the Newport City Police said that, on Saturday evening, someone called the Vermont State Police and said the men were making some type of pipe bomb with black powder. The state police forwarded the call to Jacobs, who got a description of the suspects' vehicle.
After locating the vehicle on Coventry Street, Jacobs told the men about receiving a report of a pipe bomb. When Jacobs asked for permission to search the vehicle, Glover said no.
The three men initially denied the allegations and even appeared to laugh about it.
When asked, Glover said he had a mini 14 riffle and that he and the others had been manufacturing a fully automatic BB gun. Jacobs said Glover seemed worried the BB gun might not be legal.
Jacobs told the men the police wanted to see if they had a bomb or black powder because it could be dangerous. Again, Glover refused the request to search his vehicle but admitted he had some pyrodex powder that he was going to use with his muzzle-loading firearm.
Glover still insisted that he and his friends were attempting to manufacture a BB gun and that the caller was mad at Chaffee and Macfarlane and wanted to get them in trouble.
Sgt. Seth DiSanto, who arrived with Officer Cory Marcoux, told Glover that police wanted to make sure there were no bombs or anything unsafe in the vehicle. Jacobs’ affidavit states that Glover finally gave written permission to search his vehicle and a canine unit from the Border Patrol alerted to something that looked like a pipe with wires coming from it located underneath the car, towards the front.
As a precaution, police evacuated the men and a resident from a home on Coventry Street.
The Newport City Fire Department, the Newport Ambulance Service and the Vermont State Police Bomb Squad responded to the scene. Part of Route 5 was closed for several hours.
After the men were in custody and given their Miranda rights, they reportedly admitted to making the bomb.
According to Jacobs, Glover said that he, Chaffee and Macfarlane had been watching how to make BB guns and pipe bombs on the Internet. Glover said he liked doing things like that and wanted study that subject in school, and that he enjoyed seeing a five-foot hole in the ground. Glover said he didn’t have a license for explosives.
Glover said that the pyrodex powder was not his and that Macfarlane bought it Bear Mountain Road. He said that they bought the end caps at a local hardware store. Glover said they put a rocket engine inside the device to ignite the powder inside the pipe. Glover said they had been driving around, looking for more wire when they met the police cruiser.
Glover said he lied to police because he was afraid they would freak out. He also said that he didn’t feel anyone’s life was in danger.
Macfarlane and Chaffee gave corroborating statements, Jacobs wrote in his affidavit.
According to court documents, the men worked on the pipe bomb at Chaffee’s parents’ house in Newport City.
The pipe bomb was seized as evidence and rendered harmless.