WATERVILLE — A Waterville man faces charges of criminal use of explosives after making and detonating bottle bombs on Sherwin Street, according to police.
Chad Cookson, 41, of 16 Sherwin St., crafted the bombs by mixing chemicals inside 2-litre soda bottles, police Chief Joseph Massey said Monday.
Police learned of the bombs after someone came to the Police Department Saturday with pieces of plastic soda bottles that had been destroyed, Massey said.
“They had a very strong smell of chemicals to them,” he said.
The man who brought the plastic pieces said he believed the bottles had been filled with chemicals that reacted with each other, Massey said. Ultimately the bombs were detonated, making very loud explosive noises in the Sherwin Street area, he said.
“He said he found the pieces of the 2-litre bottles strewn all over the sidewalk and of course, he was very, very concerned,” Massey said.
He said that over the last two or three years, police have received a number of complaints about soda bottles being used to make homemade bombs. Police have investigated several cases in which  bottle bombs have detonated, creating good-sized areas that become burned and marred by the explosions, he said.
Police called the state Fire Marshal’s Office about the Sherwin Street bombs and investigator Ken McMaster came to Waterville and worked with Officer Jen Weaver on the case, Massey said.
They spoke with Cookson, who admitted to making six such bottle devices, Massey said.
“According to him, he had seen it on the Internet, decided he wanted to try it and in fact, got the chemicals, put them together and put them into the bottles,” he said.
Massey said Cookson reported five of the six he made actually detonated.
The problem with the bottle devices is that one can not predict when they will detonate, Massey said. It could be immediately or it could take a while, he said.
“You’re very much at risk when you mix these chemicals, and it could explode quickly.”
He said the bottle devices are very powerful.
“I don’t think there was any intent by Mr. Cookson to hurt anybody, but it’s really reckless conduct,” Massey said.
Criminal use of explosives is a Class C Felony, he said. Cookson is scheduled to appear in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta August 11.

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]


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