Chesterton Tribune



Explosives charges filed against South Calumet resident of home that had fire

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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 garbage can.

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 affidavit said.

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 affidavit said.

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 said.

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 scene.

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.



Posted 1/16/2015




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