Thurmont man arrested in police SUV pipe bomb explosion

WASHINGTON — A 22-year-old Thurmont man was arrested in connection to the pipe-bombing of a police car in that town Wednesday, all thanks to a Burger King bag.

Kyle Mueller has been charged with destructive device and malicious destruction of property charges, police said.

On Wednesday, a Thurmont police officer had parked his marked SUV in front of his home after working his shift. Minutes later, a pipe bomb exploded, damaging the vehicle’s windshield and hood. Police said the blast could be heard and felt throughout the neighborhood.

Fragments of the blast also went into the officer’s house.

No one was hurt.

Thurmont police said someone in the neighborhood noticed a Burger King bag sitting on the ground next to the parked police vehicle days before the bombing.

Inside that bag was a receipt with debit card information linked to Mueller. That card was used to buy black powder from a gun store in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, police said.

A Toyota Highlander was seen leaving the neighborhood around the time of the bombing, police said, citing witness accounts.

Friday night, investigators watched Mueller, who was in a Toyota Highlander, pull into the Burger King drive-thru in Thurmont.

“His plan was not to target a police vehicle; however, Mr. Mueller has had some experience with explosive devices in the past,” said Thurmont police Det. Jody Maybush  during a news conference. “He admitted to assembling this device at his residence.”

Maybush said Mueller described how he got the materials.

“[He made] a confession that he had also made the purchases of the pipe, the end caps as well as the black powder container,” Maybush said.

Police said camera footage showed Mueller buying the piping at a Lowe’s store in Waynesboro. His home was searched and investigators found items connecting him to the bombing.

Mueller is being held on $300,000 bail; a preliminary hearing scheduled for Sept. 1, according to court records accessed online.

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