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Haverhill Man Charged With Setting Off Homemade Bomb In City Park

HAVERHILL (CBS) – A Haverhill man is being held on felony charges after police said he set off a homemade bomb on top of a small building at a recreational area and also had bomb-making materials inside his home.

Haverhill police arrested Matthew Madden, 20, of Haverhill, on multiple felony explosive device and arson-related charges stemming from a Tuesday incident.

Madden allegedly placed a homemade bomb, which was loaded with shrapnel, on the roof of a small building in the Haverhill Stadium recreational area. The bomb was in the middle of an area that is popular for local runners and walkers, according to police.

The bathhouse that was damaged by an explosive device in Haverhill. (Michael Rosenfield/WBZ)

Haverhill mayor James J. Fiorentini told WBZ-TV's David Robichaud there is a playground 100 yards away from where the explosion took place.

A city employee saw Madden in the area and wrote down his license plate, which led police to Madden's father's car.

The explosion caused the small building to catch fire, though there were no injuries as a result of the incident. The city employee found the fire alarm had been purposefully disabled.

Police described the device as a Molotov cocktail with shrapnel, such as ball bearings and nails, inside. Prosecutors said it appears the device did not go off properly, but still caused a fire.

Homeland Security, FBI and Haverhill police were looking for Madden since the Tuesday explosion. He turned himself into police on Friday morning.

Multiple units executed a search warrant at Madden's home on Wednesday night. During the search, police said they found bomb making materials.

On Friday in Haverhill District Court, the prosecutor said Madden has an open case, and asked to have his bail revoked. The judge granted that request and ordered Madden be held for a dangerousness hearing.

Mark Katic of WBZ NewsRadio 1030 reported that in a prior case, Madden told police "I like to blow things up."

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Mark Katic reports

Haverhill Man Allegedly Sets Off Bomb

In a previous case, police said Madden stole his father's gun cabinet and sold the weapons on the street.

"I think it's terrible," said Paula Calvi, who often walks her dog in the park, told WBZ-TV's Michael Rosenfield. "It's so destructive."

Court documents show police found a rum bottle filled with ball bearings, nails and pellets as well as a flammable liquid at the scene.

But Madden's attorney, Joseph Gannon, says police might have the wrong man because the witness picked out other people in a photo line-up.

A woman named Karen, who declined to give her last name in an interview with Rosenfield, lives next door to Madden.

"Anything can go wrong," she said. "Definitely troubling."

WBZ-TV's Michael Rosenfield contributed to this report. 


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