Shiloh man arrested after FBI finds pipe bombs in his home

News-DemocratOctober 4, 2013 


A 24-year-old man is in federal custody after pipe bombs were found in his home in Shiloh.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Justin Vangilder on Thursday after discovering the bombs inside the suspect's home inside a duplex on Twin Oaks Drive.

On Friday, the man was charged with three counts of possession of unregistered destructive devices.

Investigators raided the home Thursday afternoon and found one metal and two plastic pipe bombs inside a large brown leather briefcase. Each bomb contained different sized birdshots and nails and what appeared to be smokeless powder.

The potential explosives were disposed of safely, according to police. Neighbors reported hearing a boom, apparently the suspected bombs being detonated inside an explosive-proof container, before the all-clear was announced.

Twin Oaks Drive resident Carol Sorce said she left her house shortly after 2 p.m. to find a pair of sport-utility vehicles parked end-to-end, blocking the road. She didn't think much about it and went about her business, not finding out about the nature of the situation until later.

"You hear this stuff all over the country, but never this close to home," Sorce said. "You never know what kind of ideas someone has in their head or what they're planning to do."

Another resident of the street, Jim Marshbank, said he returned from an eye doctor appointment Thursday afternoon to find his street blocked off and fire department and bomb squad vehicles on the road.

"There was a lot of speculation on whether it was a meth house or if there was an actual bomb," Marshbank said. "There wasn't a lot of information at the time and people were pretty concerned."

While Sorce and Marshbank were far enough away that it didn't involve them, police, including local officers as well as the FBI and the Illinois State Police Bomb Disposal Unit, evacuated neighboring homes while the search was conducted. A robot with a camera was sent in to check out the devices. The scene wasn't cleared until after 8:30 p.m.

"Usually when there is a bomb threat it takes a couple of hours and then people are allowed to go back to their homes," Marshbank said. "But this took much longer, so we figured that either they found some bombs or at least some bomb-making materials that were taking a long time to clean up."

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