Despite a guarded gate outside the Emerald Heights community of Escondido neighbors say their sense of security is shattered.
Escondido police arrested Richard Hinkel Sunday on suspicion of possessing explosives and using fireworks to make illegal bombs.
Hinkel was taking the fireworks apart to turn them into explosive devices, police said.
Police were called to Hinkel's home in the 2300-block of Country View Glen after reports that a man was outside possibly firing a weapon and shouting at 4:59 a.m., according to Escondido Lt. Craig Carter. The call prompted officers to search the home.
The sheriff's bomb and arson unit was called in to clear out hundreds of fireworks. Officials also impounded a dozen rifles and 10 handguns from the home.
Hinkel, 45, was charged with 18 counts of possessing explosive devices and one count of possessing materials to construct an explosive device.
Myrna Beitner was one of a few neighbors who would talk about Hinkel. Several residents told reporters that they have had run-ins with Hinkel and were not comfortable talking about him.
“What is it that they're planning on doing with this stuff,” said Beitner. “I mean it's scary.”
“If the weapons are accessible and the bad people break into the house then you've got an even worse situation,” said neighbor Tom Barrett.
According to our media partners, the North County Times, Escondido police believe the incident appears to be unrelated to the so-called “bomb factory” discovered 10 days ago on Via Scott, just two miles from Hinkel's home.
Hinkel was booked at the North County Jail in Vista. Bail has been set at $25,000 dollars. He's scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday.
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