Friday, June 22, 2007

Ronald Swerlein's Out On Bail And Going Home But The Neighborhood Is Safe Because The Cops Have All His Explosives, Weapons, Glassware, Magazines ...

Police have cleaned out all the explosives, weapons, ammunition, volatile chemicals, and much else from the home of Ronald Swerlein, and now the 50-year-old former electrical engineer, who is currently free on $50,000 bond, will return to his home in Longmont, Colorado. But the police don't want people to be afraid, so they're having a public meeting -- which will almost certainly be finished by the time you read this -- just to assure everyone it's quite safe to let Swerlein stay in his house until he gets his day in court.

Really. There's nothing to worry about. The police detonated his nitroglycerin in his driveway last Saturday evening (and they evacuated the neighborhood first, so you know they care about the people's safety!), and everything else they confiscated was stable enough for them to take with them, so there's no need for concern. Seriously. Would I lie to you? Would they?

Listen, they even itemized what they took out of the house:
Along with about 400 different chemicals and books on homemade explosives, police also took three metal grenade shells, 15 boxes of military fuel shells, a Glock 22 handgun, multiple flare guns, multiple stun guns, a Taser and cartridges, a .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol, a five-shot revolver, a 9-mm semiautomatic, a .40-caliber Glock, a .38-caliber revolver, a Colt .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol, several other guns, and boxes of ammunition for the guns.
All this is according to Pierrette J. Shields in the June 21 Daily Times-Call, who can't avoid tantalizing us:
Police also took a handwritten “to-do” list and a “warning note,” although investigators would not discuss the contents of either.
But police don't expect any problem, and they're telling the neighbors there's no danger. Here's Pierrette Shields again, with Rachel Carter this time, in the same June 21 The Daily Times-Call:

Police meeting today with Swerlein neighbors
Police will meet tonight with neighbors of the man suspected of mixing explosives in his house and hoarding a huge cache of chemicals, weapons and bomb-making literature.

Some of Ronald Swerlein’s neighbors are concerned about their children’s safety and have asked about the possibility of booby traps in the neighborhood or nearby park, Longmont Police Sgt. Tim Lewis said.

There is no danger, Lewis said, but he and Police Chief Mike Butler wants to meet with residents to field questions and address concerns.
Should be a grand time. I wish I could be there. I'll keep my eyes open for reports.

Speaking of reports: this story still has not made a single dent in any national media, and the only coverage it is getting outside of Colorado has come from a short UPI item which was carried in the Republic of Georgia but not in the State of Georgia.

Really. There's no danger.
Police spent the weekend searching Swerlein’s home at 2404 Sunset Drive after a neighbor reported hearing explosions at his house June 12. Investigators returned to the house Tuesday night for a second search, which yielded more weapons and chemicals.

Neighbors heard and felt explosions and saw smoke rising from Swerlein’s backyard or billowing from his garage shortly afterward in recent months, police said.
Explosions in recent months? I guess that depends on what you mean by recent.

Just two days ago (June 19), Betsy Lehndorff and Tillie Fong reported in the Rocky Mountain News:

Backyard blasts lead to jail
In Longmont, neighbor Sean Hardy, 25 [...] said that he and other neighbors had lodged noise complaints about the Swerleins since last July.

"We had police stop by and neighbors stop by," he said. "We've even had a cop sit outside all night one night a month ago. The wheels move slow."
The wheels move slow indeed. How recent?

Here's John C. Ensslin in the Rocky Mountain News, three days ago (June 18):

Arrest follows series of blasts in Longmont neighborhood
Several neighbors said they've heard explosions as far back as January 2006. The complaints are what led police to obtain the search warrant.

Last summer, next-door neighbor Gabriel Mohedano thought someone was setting off Fourth of July fireworks. But fellow neighbor Jessica Mendez said it was nothing like firecrackers. "It was a big old boom," she said.
A big old boom indeed! In the middle of the night when all's quiet, or nearly so, and all of a sudden there's a big old boom! How many people would have noticed something like that? ... in a residential neighborhood on the edge of a small city?

Oh, no!!
Police received at least 15 reports of explosions, fireworks or shots fired in the area during the past 18 months, according to Lewis’ search warrant affidavit.

A resident reported “loud explosions at night” near Raber Park in September 2006, according to police. The resident told officers the explosions were much more powerful than fireworks; not only did they wake his family at night, but the explosions spurred residents to “check gas line connections and electrical transformer boxes in the neighborhood,” according to police reports.

Police received another complaint about late-night explosions in November. In early December, police said they were monitoring the area.
Hardy said the Swerleins were fairly reclusive, and that he hardly ever saw them, except when Ronald Swerlein would pick up the mail.
So they weren't much of a social couple, were they? But people to keep an eye on, nonetheless, no doubt.

Or an ear!
The explosions usually occurred between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m., neighbors said.
What did he do, wait till his wife was asleep and then hope nobody would hear him?
Hardy said he noticed that Ronald Swerlein received a lot of packages.

"It was three to four times a week from a UPS truck," he said. "He had a lot of stuff delivered."
A lot of stuff indeed.

And guess what else? Swerlein had magazines!!

Here's more scary reportage from Pierrette Shields in the June 21 The Daily Times-Call:

Link to animal extremists probed: Magazines from ‘domestic terrorism threat’ found in Sunset Drive Home
LONGMONT — Ronald Swerlein kept magazines in his home from the Animal Liberation Front, a group the FBI calls a “leading domestic terrorism threat,” according to police.

Officers seized the magazines from Swerlein’s home at 2404 Sunset Drive during a second search Tuesday night.

Police first searched the 50-year-old’s home over the weekend and arrested him Sunday on suspicion of possessing and making explosives.

Swerlein has a right to have any publication, but it is a piece of the investigation that officers must check out, said Longmont Police Sgt. Tim Lewis.

“I have found no targets, no specific intent to harm anyone or anything with his activity,” Lewis said.

“He wasn’t interacting with anyone else to show them his explosives,” Lewis said. “He was doing them on his own.”
So there you have the probable explanation. He hadn't selected (that is to say, as far as the police know, he hadn't selected) any targets, and he hadn't expressed any animosity toward anyone. Plus, he wasn't showing anyone what he was doing, and he bought his multi-thousand-dollar setup all by himself, with his own money, bit by bit, three or four UPS shipments a week ...

So it's not terrorism, and he's ok, and we're ok, and how about that? Except for those pesky magazines...

I'll have more about this very bizarre case later. A lot more, it looks like ... especially since nobody else is covering it except the folks in Colorado!


My previous post on this subject, "Police Seize Huge Cache Of Explosives From Colorado Home, But Say It's Not Enough For An Act Of Terrorism", has several interesting links, and it has been updated with new information quite recently.

Wow, what a weird case!

And no MSM coverage at all!!!

... except for that one UPI report ... which is now also online at the website of the Bend (Oregon) Weekly.