Udate: Pilipovich was taken into custody on Friday.
One of the occupants of the South Calumet Road home which burned on New
Year’s Day has been charged with possession of a destructive device, a Level
5 felony, after Chesterton Police said that bags of ammonium nitrate -- a
compound used as an explosive and a main component of ANFO, industrial
explosive -- were found in the residence.
Police this morning have filed other charges and issued an arrest warrant
against Gary M. Pilipovich, 31, whose listed address is 214 S. Calumet Road,
including dealing in a schedule I, II, or III controlled substance, a Level
5 felony, and possession of a legend drug, a Level 6 felony.
According to a probable cause affidavit by Chesterton Police Chief David
Cincoski, police at approximately 11:49 p.m. on Jan. 1 found “several
indications of illicit activity” at Pilipovich’s residence while conducting
an investigation into what caused fire to the building.
Pilipovich allegedly told Chesterton Firefighters that he “made fireworks”
inside his home.
The affidavit said that after the fire was extinguished, CFD saw indications
of potentially unsafe chemicals and possible drug paraphernalia and
narcotics throughout the residence.
Police said that in the kitchen area in plain view were “several clear
plastic bags of unidentified pills labeled with handwritten letters” on top
of a counter, a “wound roll” of what appeared to be magnesium fuse next to
the sink and cupboards, and “numerous jars and buckets of unidentified
liquids of an extremely offensive odor, smelling highly acidic” inside the
refrigerator and freezer.
Police said they also found more pills in bags sitting on top of a filled
In a second floor room, police said they found various jars containing
powder-like substances “within feet of the fire’s alleged flash point.” One
of the jars was labeled “BLACK POWDER” and another “DARK ALUM,” along with a
plastic bag labeled “AMMONIUM NITRATE” containing a white substance, the
Police said in various parts of the third floor they found more containers
holding chemicals, various “prescription bottles containing unknown powdery
substances,” chemistry set items such as beakers, tubes and jars, and a
textbook on organic chemistry. Located nearby was a notebook containing
handwritten notes that “alluded to the manufacture of mescaline,” the
Cincoski states in the affidavit that he spoke with Indiana State Police
drug and bomb officers who advised that ammonium nitrate and black powder
are known explosive components.
Porter County Hazmat officers were called in to remove the potentially
unstable chemicals and later advised the scene was a “major disaster,”
additional agencies were needed to be called in and that “it was fortunate
the building had not suffered a major explosion in the fire.” NIPSCO had
been on the scene and severed all electrical power to the residence, police
The reported homeowner gave police permission to search the residence and
Hazmat officers, including personnel from LaPorte County Hazmat removed
additional bags of ammonium nitrate, the affidavit said. Agents from the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also called to the
Police said that a search warrant was obtained from the Porter County’s
Prosecutor’s Office once all the chemicals were removed from the house.
Along with what appeared to be several small explosive or incendiary
devices, police said they recovered 11 pills matching a description for
Ecstasy and approximately 66 pills matching the description of Cialis. Four
more kinds of pills “in slightly lesser quantities” were located including
Xanax, according to the affidavit.
Pilipovich was taken into custody today.