about 60 pipe bombs? in public storage in malvern?

Last night a headline broke on Malvern Patch:

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Actual photo taken inside Public Storage in Malvern months ago

That really freaked me out because until a couple of months ago, I was a customer of that Public Storage – I had needed some extra storage when I first relocated permanently to Chester County.  It was clean and easy to get to and not creepy feeling the way a lot of those self storage places are.   The few months I was there we rarely saw other people, and given all the shows on television and cable about storage units (Storage Wars) and auctioning off abandoned storage units, you can’t help but wonder what people store there.

While a customer there I saw mostly people who were storing clothes and books and stuff like me and once in a while people who were antiques and collectibles dealers who didn’t have store fronts, and did shows.  Occasionally you would see an orphaned piece of  furniture or a lamp no one wanted left inside the front doors by the elevators, but that was it.

So I was floored when I saw Malvern Patch’s headline last night about the sleepy yet clean Public Storage and I am equally shocked this morning that yes, the bomb squad borrowed from Montgomery County (apparently Chester County doesn’t have one?) detonated BOMBS last night!  Sweet Jesus!  How long were they in the storage facility?  The risk to the public with this if not for law enforcement could have been crazy.

This also makes you think about all the other self storage facilities around here on and off that Route 30 corridor, doesn’t it? Remember that developer of Malvern (who isn’t getting the Whip Tavern is also bringing more self storage to Malvern called “Cube Smart”.)

So how do these self storage companies really know what is being stored?

Mr. Bomb Storage in the news broken by Malvern Patch (EXCELLENT job by the way in getting that out there) ends up is a Ponzi schemer named  “Istvan Merchanthaler, a 42-year-old man facing federal charges related to a $2 million Ponzi scheme.”

And Patch reports that there was a lot of law enforcement there last night.  Given what it was about, I have no doubt in my mind ATF was there too.

I hope they throw another book at this freak Istvan Merchanthaler for those explosive devices.

Here is the updated story from Patch (Malvern Patch really does do local news well as opposed to a lot of other Patch sites), and from Michael Price at The Daily Local:

Bombs Detonated in Park After Storage-Unit Seizure

A series of explosions shook houses Thursday night as authorities destroyed pipe bombs in East Whiteland’s Valley Creek Park.

By Pete Kennedy and Eric Campbell  Email the authors  March 7, 2013

malvern patchTwo bomb-disposal units were among the multiple emergency response teams working at the Public Storage facility in Frazer Thursday evening after a large amount of explosives was found inside a storage locker.

FBI agents and bomb technicians worked in and around the building, located on the unit block of Lancaster Avenue, as local police and fire departments controlled traffic, maintained a perimeter and kept ready to respond to any incidents.

Around 8:30 p.m., bomb squads from Montgomery County and Philadelphia began hauling the explosives from the storage facility to nearby Valley Creek Park. The explosives were transported inside large metal containers on trailers, and each trip involved a convoy of fire engines, ambulances and police vehicles…..

Shortly after 11:15 p.m., as a light snow fell, the first in a series of explosions shook houses and woke sleeping residents miles away. At least five explosions occurred before they stopped around 1:15 a.m. Friday.

There were also reports of an explosion earlier in the day, around 7 p.m., but employees at businesses near Public Storage said they did not hear anything at that time.

The FBI had notified East Whiteland Police that they planned to execute a warrant within the township, but the circumstances that led the agency to Malvern are unclear. The Daily Local News reports that the storage locker was registered to Istvan Merchanthaler, a 42-year-old man facing federal charges related to a $2 million Ponzi scheme. Harman said agents told him a Maryland resident had been arrested in connection with the bombs.

Federal agents remove explosives from Malvern storage locker

 By MICHAEL N. PRICE mprice@dailylocal.com

Posted: Thursday, 03/07/13 10:35 pm Updated: Thursday, 03/07/13 10:43 pm

EAST WHITELAND — Federal agents and bomb squad units removed a high amount of explosives from a storage locker Thursday night in the unit block of Lancaster Avenue in Malvern.

According to a high ranking official close to the investigation, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and members of the Montgomery County and Philadelphia bomb squads removed about 60 pipe bombs from a storage locker at Malvern Public Storage and transported them to a nearby park, where they were to be detonated.

The source, who asked to remain anonymous due to the ongoing and sensitive nature of the investigation, said that the storage locker was registered to 42-year-old Istvan Merchanthaler, a Chester County man facing federal charges in connection to a Ponzi scheme that officials say defrauded investors of about $2 million over the past seven years.  Officials close to Merchanthaler’s case said the suspect was connected to similar explosive investigations in other states, and added that he is facing charges in multiple jurisdictions throughout the east coast….The United States Attorney’s Office announced additional fraud charges against Merchanthaler Thursday

Ponzi schemes are bad enough without adding BOMBS to the mix. So what was the goal here? Defraud some people and blow some others up? Wow. Nice guy this  Istvan Merchanthaler, right?