For hours, a mix of federal agents and state police descended on the Riverview Condo Complex in Bridgeport, while 65 miles away Nicolas Lahines appeared in court charged with selling homemade explosives to undercover cops.
Lahines was arrested Thursday afternoon in Co-Op City. Police say the 37-year-old sold 8 crude devices resembling pipe bombs out of the trunk of his car to members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Investigators don't believe Lahines had any ties to terrorism, describing him as "tinkerer." Neighbors say that description fits perfectly.
Police say they found more dangerous items - ball bearings and potassium perchlorate - to make the explosives.
Up until a few months ago, Lahines was a salesman at a car dealership in Rye.
Even though it's riddled with spelling and grammatical mistakes, Lahines writes on a business website: "I am extremely smart in many different area's.... I have a knack for making money, and see a dollar sign on everything... I will not be working for some else my whole life as I plan to do my own thing... I am too smart to make other people money, so why shouldn't I make my own money, on my terms?"
U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry B. Pitman ordered him held without bail after his initial court appearance. He said Lahines was a danger to the community.
His lawyer, Peggy Cross, declined to comment but said in court that Lahines should be allowed to stay with his mother in Florida while awaiting trial.
The complaint said an overnight search of Lahines' apartment turned up several more tubes similar in shape and dimension to those he sold for $3,200 to a confidential source working for the government when he was arrested Thursday.
The complaint said at least one law enforcement officer was injured during the search when agents examined a small jar containing a small amount of a white powdery residue and the substance detonated.
It said agents also identified about 15 flashlights that a bomb technician at the scene said appeared to have been adapted to form a destructive device and they saw three photographs of between 50 and 80 cylindrical objects with fuses that appeared similar in size to those Lahines sold.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Buckley told Pitman that a search of his apartment showed there were bomb-making materials strewn about.
Connecticut FBI spokesman William Reinter said there was no evidence of ties to terrorism in the case.
Some information from The Associated Press.