Bombs Found in Storage Facility, Later Detonated

Source says storage units belonged to a man currently in custody facing charges that he ran a Ponzi scheme

By Vince Lattanzio and Dan Stamm
|  Friday, Mar 8, 2013  |  Updated 8:37 PM EDT
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A sources tells NBC10's Harry Hairston that the storage lockers where dozens of explosive devices were found belongs to Istvan Merchenthaler, who is accused in a Ponzi scheme.

NBC10 - Harry Hairston

A sources tells NBC10's Harry Hairston that the storage lockers where dozens of explosive devices were found belongs to Istvan Merchenthaler, who is accused in a Ponzi scheme.

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Explosives Found in Chester County Storage Facility

The bomb squad removes explosive devices from Public Storage on Lancaster Avenue in Malvern. NBC10's Nefertiti Jaquez reports.
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When authorities arrived at a Chester County storage facility Thursday afternoon, what they found was not your typical storage locker contents.

Law enforcement officials tell NBC10.com that inside two lockers they found some 60 explosive devices or what one law enforcement source close to the investigation described as "actual bombs."

The storage lockers are registered to Istvan Merchenthaler who led the feds to the bombs, a source told NBC10's Harry Hairston.

The find was made around 2:15 p.m. Thursday at Public Storage at 49 Lancaster Avenue in Malvern, Pa. Nearly half a dozen law enforcement agencies responded to the scene including East Whiteland Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation and bomb squads from nearby Philadelphia and Montgomery County.

The three-story building is located between a Friendly's Restaurant and an antique store.

Although a source tells NBC10.com that the devices were capable of killing people if they exploded, no evacuations were made of the surrounding area.

Officials worked into the night, carefully removing the bombs from the building.

The devices were then transported to a nearby field in Malvern and detonated, officials confirmed. NBC10 captured video of the detonations. Fiery streaks could be seen flying into the air as several bombs were ignited.

Merchenthaler, 42, is in federal custody on fraud charges. He's accused of running a Ponzi scheme based on a phone card company that allegedly duped investors out of millions from 2006 to 2011.

Neither Merchenthaler nor his attorney could be reached for comment.

FBI spokesperson Carrie Adamowski says the investigation is ongoing. She would not comment on whether any arrests have been made.

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