WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Police in Wilmington say they stopped what could have been a very dangerous situation, as a drug investigation led them to a home carrying multiple explosive devices.
Police have arrested Erik Rudolph Arnebold, 37, of 4705 Patrick Avenue and charged him with 24 counts of having a weapon of mass destruction, plus a count each of possessing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
Police say they started investigating information about illegal narcotic activity and came upon evidence that Arnebold was involved in possessing and manufacturing explosive devices.
They got a search warrant and detained Arnebold outside his home Wednesday.
Officers spotted one IED on the outside of his home and started searching the area, where they found 23 more IEDs in a hidden trap door underneath his floor. Half of the IEDs were constructed with enhanced shrapnel called lead shot on the inside of them.
Officers also found other materials used in making pipe bombs, a handgun, rifle and a lot of ammunition.
A judge said during his first appearance Thursday afternoon a dozen of the bombs looked like they were set to inflict injury.
According to a news release, the area was designed "like a fortress with windows and doors barricaded."
At this point, police say it's not clear what Arnebold's alleged motives were in this situation. The case remains under investigation.
Arnebold's bond was increased to $1.5 million during his first court appearance.
More charges could be pending as the result of an investigation into a computer that was also found at his home.
According to the assistant district attorney, documents show Arnebold once served in the Army and only had a few misdemeanor charges on his record.
WHAT NEIGHBORS ARE SAYING
Logan Davis is a student at Cape Fear Community College. He lives directly behind the house where Arnebold was busted. He said that Arnebold was his landlord.
"I take him his rent every single month," said Davis. "He seemed like a pretty straight-forward guy. I would never expect that there's bombs or anything in there. That's real scary."
Davis said that the bomb-builder had been a good landlord. The CFCC student had been in Arnebold's home a couple times to drop-off rent checks. He said the windows inside were boarded up and there were computer monitors linked to surveillance cameras on the exterior of the house.
"If he's making bombs, he's in the right place now," explained Davis. "I feel a lot safer knowing that there are no more bombs or anything back near my house."
Claude McDonald, another neighbor, said he had seen and waved at Arnebold a few times in passing.
"I thought he was a normal guy, but a bomb builder?" questioned McDonald. "That's really shocking and surprising."
Both residents said they were just happy no one got hurt and Arnebold was taken off the streets before he could use any of his weapons.