Twins charged in Chesco/Lancaster bombing spree

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Alleged to have built IEDs, blown up sheds in Dec., 2015

Daniel Tate

Daniel Tate

Twin brothers from Cochranville are facing charges that they spent their holiday break from college a bit differently than most students: engaging in a bombing spree in Western Chester County and in eastern Lancaster County, following a joint investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, State Police and local law enforcement agencies.

Daniel and Caleb Tate, 22, face charges that they built and detonated at least five improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and blew up a collection of mailboxes and small buildings during the final 11 days of 2015. No one was injured in the explosions, but the two face charges of arson by explosion, arson by possession of explosive devices, conspiracy, theft, and related other charges.

Although authorities say the twins’ intent was mischief, not terrorism, the current environment still makes their alleged actions concerning.

Caleb Tate

Caleb Tate

“We live in a world where the thought of bombs exploding around us is a very real fear,” Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said. “These defendants brought that fear to our region during a two-week crime spree where they detonated multiple IEDs. The Pennsylvania State Police and ATF did an outstanding job investigating this case and discovering who was responsible .”

Following a series of explosions over an 11-day period, starting with mailboxes and moving to sheds in a roughly 12-mile area overlapping the two counties, the ATF and State Police began their investigation in January.

The first bomb was set off in a mailbox in Highland Township, on Dec. 20, 2015. A second device was allegedly detonated on Dec. 22, 2015 in a wooded area in Londonderry Township.

After the second detonation, authorities said, the Tate twins moved onto structures, including an Amish phone shed (an outbuilding used by the Amish to house their phones — as they do not believe in allowing any technology in their homes) which was badly damaged in Colerain Township on Dec. 30, 2015 and a second phone shed in Sadsbury Township, Lancaster County, also damaged by not destroyed, later that same day. The last detonation, authorities said, came at a pump house in West Fallowfield, on Dec. 31, 2015, leaving that structure completely destroyed.

The duo were traced back to Daniel Tate’s finger print, authorities said, on electrical tape. Subsequent investigation linked some of the materials used to the debit card of one of the brothers, while surveillance video allegedly showed the two shoplifting some of the materials from a local store.

While the bombings appear to have been for fun and entertainment, such behavior cannot and will not be tolerated, law enforcement officials said.

“The Pennsylvania State Police will continue to work with our community members and our federal and local partners to rid our community of such crimes,” Pennsylvania State Police Captain Maurice Tomlinson said. “Working together, we will make sure persons willing to commit these acts get prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We thank everyone involved in the investigation to date and greatly appreciate the collaborative efforts all agencies involved in this case.”

Federal officials made it clear that what the brothers are charged with is far more serious than firing off some illegal fireworks — a real danger to the community as well as themselves.

“Improvised explosive devices are not harmless fire crackers. They are dangerous, destructive, and can be very deadly.  ATF will  continue to work together  with  our state and local partners  to protect the public we serve by investigating and arresting those who criminally misuse  explosives.”

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact State Trooper Jerry Harper of the Troop J Fire Marshal Unit at (717) 299-7650.

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