A quiet neighborhood in New Britain turned into a hotbed of police activity when detectives busted up a big explosives operation.
The raid happened on Grandview Street, which is less than a mile from Central Connecticut State University.
“That's scary. That's really scary,” New Britain resident Stacey Rollins said.
Neighbors said they were frightened after realizing just how close they were to someone who police say was attempting to manufacture explosives.
“Upon entry, it was a normal house,” New Britain Police Lt. Jeanette Portalatin said. “Most of it was relegated to one particular area of the house.”
“With all the Paris bombings and all that's going on out here, that's just nuts,” Rollins said.
Police arrested 33-year-old Robert Bryant and charged him with illegal bomb manufacturing, illegal possession of exploding fireworks, illegal possession of explosives, the sale of hallucinogens, possession of hallucinogens, and illegal possession of prescription drugs.
Police said they recovered 52 explosive devices in one of the bedrooms of his home on Grandview Street. They also seized more than 1,000 grams of explosive powder, wicks, fuses and even a pressure cooker.
According to court documents, "a pressure cooker device comprised of materials similar to those seized from Bryant's bedroom that's been used to kill and maim individuals in this country, most notable at the Boston Marathon."
“What we found was highly flammable,” Portalatin said. “It's a nice area of town, very residential and could have been a threat to the other residents.”
The police did not mention terrorism at all and police said they're still trying to determine Bryant's motive.
“What's the purpose or intent, I wouldn't be able to tell you that,” Portalatin said.
Police said they found hallucinogenic mushrooms and prescription pills in the home as well.
"Our investigators are looking at other items that were seized to see the extent of what was going on inside that house,” Portalatin said.
There was no answer at h Bryant's home on Friday afternoon. There was no answer at this home on Schultz Street, where he's alleged to have received materials from Hong Kong and elsewhere. Neighbors Schultz Street said his father lives at that location and had no clue this was going on.
“I just pray for them because it's very sad. You never expect something like that,” neighbor Jackie Torres said.
Police seized one of Bryant's business cards. It said he worked at Lowes. The company confirmed that Bryant was their employee, but would not confirm his status or what store he worked at during his time with Lowes.
Bryant, who has no criminal past, was initially held on $500,000 bond. It was reduced to $250,000 and he posted it. He is under house arrest, the only time he can leave is for work and for medical appointments.
Bryant will be in court on June 13.
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