Labor Day parade in South Plainfield canceled due to security concerns

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, September 2, 2019
Labor Day parade canceled after firework devices found near route
Cefaan Kim has the details on the incident which unfolded in South Plainfield.

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, New Jersey (WABC) -- The South Plainfield Labor Day parade in New Jersey was canceled Monday due to security concerns over homemade fireworks, police said.

The incident involved a resident who makes firework-like devices. A half dozen of the devices were found on his property near a wooded area, which is in proximity to the parade route, authorities said.

The resident, 55-year-old Thomas Kaiser, was arrested and charged with possession of a destructive device for an unlawful purpose.

The discovery of the devices was made during a separate investigation that was unrelated to the parade.

It began Sunday in Monmouth County when Kaiser tried to bring a cooler filled what now appears to have been homemade fireworks into Donovan's Reef, a bar in Sea Bright, authorities said.

An investigation by the Sea Bright Police Department and the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office eventually led to Kaiser's South Plainfield home.

Investigators arrived just before midnight on West Crescent Parkway, an otherwise sleepy block.

Neighbors were shocked to see their street suddenly flooded with police.

"It's nerve racking," one neighbor told Eyewitness News. "Right across the street, you know?"

"There was just flashlights everywhere surrounding the house," said another.

"I thought it was guns. I thought it was guns or drugs, because they had a K-9 here," said neighbor Ralph Lopez.

A half dozen small firework-like devices were found around Kaiser's home near a wooded area.

The same area happens to be close to the starting point of the borough's annual Labor Day parade.

Authorities said no threats were made to the parade. Investigators searched the route and found nothing.

But the annual festivities were canceled out of an abundance of caution.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy were scheduled to march in what would have been the town's 62nd annual parade.

Kaiser was arrested and charged with possession of a destructive device.

A man who said he was Kaiser's brother called the entire incident a misunderstanding.

"He was caught with fireworks," he said. "There was no bombs, nothing set in the streets, nowhere. They came, they searched the house with bomb explosive dogs, found nothing in the house. Found nothing anywhere near the vicinity. Ok?"

While officials stressed there is no threat to public safety, homemade fireworks are illegal in New Jersey.

Kaiser is expected to face additional charges, although it's unclear what those will be.


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