By David Collins
CARNEY, Maryland (WBAL) — Baltimore County police identified a husband and wife who were charged after Tuesday’s discovery of a suspicious package that prompted the evacuations of schools and homes.
Joseph Vickery, 43, was charged with several possession of explosive device-related charges. He was also charged with drug and firearm-related offenses. His wife, Kristen Vickery, 39, was charged with drug possession with intent to distribute.
The investigation started in Mount Airy and it stretched to Pine Grove Middle School in Carney and a motel in Woodlawn.
Police say mother-in-law reporting theft clued them in to explosives Police said they learned of an alleged plot involving explosives while interviewing a Mount Airy resident about a theft. That theft victim is Joseph Vickery’s mother-in-law, with whom he had a falling out.
“He had a family member that he was potentially targeting to be the victim of this,” Mount Airy Police Chief Doug Reitz told the 11 News I-Team.
The mother-in-law told police her daughter warned her through a text message, saying: “(I don’t know) what psycho (expletive) is planning. I saw him looking up how to make flash bang bombs. He has a gun and a crossbow. He just bought more.”
“She also sent pictures of him converting the materials into what is believed to be explosives,” Reitz said.
The mother-in-law told authorities Joseph Vickery had no fixed address and may have stayed at a motel in Columbia. A Mount Airy police officer is being credited with preventing a tragedy when he called the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Howard County police.
“He took it upon himself to do a little bit more research, and basically, when he concurred to what her statements were, he took it to the next level and contacted the FBI and the ATF,” Reitz said.
Homemade bomb found in truck parked near school Police said they found a homemade bomb Tuesday morning on the floor of Joseph Vickery’s pickup truck that was parked near Pine Grove Middle School.
“(Joseph Vickery) worked for an electrical company that was contracted to do electrical work (at the school),” Reitz said.
Police said detectives believe it does not appear the school was the intended target during this incident.
Investigators said Joseph Vickery told them he planned to detonate the device in a remote area. Investigators said they believe Joseph Vickery was going to detonate the device possibly to test it, perhaps in an open field at the school.
According to police charging documents obtained by the I-Team, Joseph Vickery conducted online research of improvised explosive devices and purchased the material from two local big box stores, including parts from a child’s radio-controlled car to detonate the bomb from a distance.
How police say they found the suspects Howard County said they got a cellphone tower ping that put Joseph Vickery at a motel in Woodlawn.
Police said they witnessed Kristen Vickery at the motel throwing away trash bags full of bomb-making material. The charging documents state investigators also found receipts at the motel.
“If we wouldn’t have acted that quickly and got the other authorities and agencies involved like we did, it’s quite conceivable that we would be dealing with a different set of circumstances that could have ended in a major tragedy,” Reitz said.
Both Vickerys remain held without bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center awaiting a bail review scheduled for Thursday at Baltimore County District Court in Towson.
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