Brian X. McCrone

Home From College, Chester County Twins Allegedly Exploded Bombs

They allegedly started with a mailbox, and within two weeks, twin brothers from Chester County allegedly blew up an Amish phone booth and shed, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Caleb and Daniel Tate, 22 years old, of Cochranville, were home from college in December when they allegedly went on a rampage with "improvised explosive devices," or IEDs, the Chester County District Attorney said.

Caleb Tate, who attends Belmont University in Tennessee, and Daniel Tate, a student at Pepperdine University, are charged with arson by explosion, arson by possession explosive devices, conspiracy, and theft.

They were busted after state police and local agents with Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms honed in on the 12-mile area where five bombings took place and discovered surveillance video from local stores that allegedly shows the twins shoplifting items used in making the bombs.

Prosecutors said the two allegedly also used a credit card to purchase some material.

The first IED detonation took place Dec. 20 on South Friends Meetinghouse Road in Highland Township when a mailbox exploded. The next explosion occurred two days later in a wooded area along Faggs Manor Road in Londonberry.

"The defendants then escalated into detonating the bombs in buildings," the county prosecutor's office said in a statement.

A pipe bomb destroyed an Amish phone shed on Bartville Road in Colerain Township, Lancaster County on Dec. 30. The next day, IEDs destroyed an Amish produce shed in Strasburg and a well pump shed in West Fallowfield.

Chester County DA
An Amish structure in Lancaster County destroyed by an "improvised explosive device" in December 2015.

No one was injured in the five blasts, but prosecutors said the IEDs did psychological damage to the area.

"We live in a world where the thought of bombs exploding around us is a very real fear," Chester County DA Tom Hogan said. "These defendants brought that fear to our region during a two-week crime spree."

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