Pokemon cards help tie suspect to series of explosions in Md. neighborhood

Authorities in Maryland have charged a man following a series of explosions over the last several weeks in Aberdeen — and they say his collection of Pokemon cards helped connect him to the blasts.

Jeremiah E. Burnette, 34, of Aberdeen, faces charges of possessing and using explosive devices, following a joint investigation by the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal, Aberdeen Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Burnette was arrested Tuesday after Aberdeen police officers responded to a reported explosion in the area of South Rogers and James streets around 3:30 a.m.

The “loud explosion,” as described by the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal, happened in the same area residents had reported hearing explosions in the middle of the night since mid-May.

Responding officers discovered a crater near a wood line littered with Pokémon cards. One of the officers recalled a similar stack of cards when previously arresting Burnette a few days earlier.

In what authorities called a coincidence, another resident called Aberdeen police that same day to report arguing with Burnette, who reportedly ended the conversation saying, “Boom.” That resident reported finding a Pokémon card on his front step a few days later, according to authorities.

At the scene of Tuesday’s blast, members of law enforcement, including deputy state fire marshals and bomb technicians, discovered more Pokémon cards and wrappers in the area further connecting Burnette to the explosion, authorities said.

Burnette was arrested with the aid of Harford County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team members after a search warrant was conducted on his home, where authorities said they turned up several packages of Pokémon cards.

The Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal said Burnette admitted detonating M-80 explosive devices during questioning. The illegal explosives can cause severe hand, eye and facial injuries, along with hearing loss.

Burnette didn’t give any specific reason for the detonations and there’s no evidence linking him to any threat against national security, according to authorities.

After being charged with two counts of possessing a destructive device and two counts of using a destructive device, Burnette was released from the Harford County Detention Center, after posting a $10,000 personal unsecured bond.

Attempts to contact Burnette by WTOP were unsuccessful.

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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