NJ Train Explosives Suspect Says Devices Were Fireworks, Not Bombs

Friday, 26 Apr 2013 09:25 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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A Jersey City man allegedly had explosive devices with him and in his home when he boarded a NJ Transit train just days before the Boston Marathon bombings, but he claims they were fireworks, not bombs.

Mykyta Panasenko, 27, is accused of posessing "two destructive devices, specifically improvised explosive devices constructed from a cylinder containing Pyrodex [black powder]" in his apartment on April 5, according to a criminal complaint.

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Days later, on April 7, he was accused of bringing two improvised explosive devices aboard a NJ Transit train leaving Hoboken, N.J., for Suffern, N.Y.

Panasenko is charged with recklessly creating widespread risk of injury or damage to a building by constructing the explosive devices, according to the charges filed after the investigation led by the Jersey City Police Department and NJ Transit Police Department.

He was arrested April 15, the same day two bombs rocked the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 170.

"There is no indication at this point of the investigation that he intended to detonate a device in his building or on the transit system," law enforcement officers said in a statement Thursday. "Police recovered components of an explosive device at his home, not a completed device. However, the investigation revealed that he did transport completed devices from his home at some point."

Panasenko was charged on a summons and released, Hudson County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Gene Rubino told NJ.com. The most serious charges he faces carry a possible sentence of up to five years in prison upon conviction. He made his first court appearance on the charges on Wednesday in Central Judicial Processing court in Jersey City.

Authorities learned of the explosive devices after Panasenko's roommate saw them, "freaked out," and called the police, according to the New York Daily News.

But Panasenko insists the explosives were fireworks, not bombs.

"They were fireworks," he told the Daily News. "Obviously, it was a bad idea."

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