WEST CHESTER, PA. — Twin brothers from Chester County are charged with building and setting off improvised explosive devices in Chester and Lancaster Counties last December. Daniel and Caleb Tate, 22, are accused of building the bombs, made from various materials, including metal pipes, fuel containers, propane canisters, propane torch tips, and other items, and setting them off at five separate locations in December of 2015, while they were home from college on winter break. Daniel is a student at Pepperdine University and Caleb goes to Belmont University.
According to court documents, the spree started with a mailbox located at 200 S. Friends Meetinghouse Road, Highland Township, Chester County on December 20th. Two days later, the Tates detonated an IED in a wooded area in the 1800 block of Faggs Manor Road, Londonderry Township, Chester County. The defendants then allegedly escalated into detonating the bombs in buildings.
On December 30, 2015, the Tates are accused of exploding a pipe bomb in an Amish phone shed at 328 Bartville Road, Colerain Township, Lancaster County. An Amish phone shed or phone shanty is an enclosed building containing a phone used jointly by multiple Amish families, who do not permit phones in their homes. The phone shed was badly damaged.
The next day, December 31, 2015, authorities say the Tates detonated an IED in an Amish produce shed at 905 May Post Office Road, Strasburg Township, Lancaster County. The shed was damaged in the explosion.
Later that day, the Tates detonated another bomb in a well pump shed at 918 Ross Fording Road, West Fallowfield Township,
Chester County. The building was destroyed.
No people were in any of the buildings when the explosions took place, but the District Attorney says the detonations could have injured or killed anybody who was present. The explosions generally happened in the early morning hours.
The Pennsylvania State Police and ATF investigated the bombings. The explosions took place in a tight cluster, within 12 miles in a rural area. Investigators say they discovered video of the Tates shoplifting the materials for the IEDs from local stores. The brothers also allegedly charged some of the supplies to a debit/credit card.
Further investigation revealed more video evidence of the Tates purchasing the bomb material from a store in the
area, according to court documents.
Investigators say they were also able to match Daniel Tate’s finger print from electrical tape recovered at one of the explosion scenes.
The Tates are charged with arson by explosion, arson by possession of explosive devices, conspiracy, theft, and related charges.
“We live in a world where the thought of bombs exploding around us is a very real fear,” said Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan. “These defendants brought that fear to our region during a two-week crime spree where they detonated multiple IEDs. The Pennsylvania State Police and ATF did an outstanding job investigating this case and discovering who was responsible.”
Pennsylvania State Police Captain Maurice Tomlinson stated, “The Pennsylvania State Police will continue to work with our community members and our federal and local partners to rid our community of such crimes. Working together, we will make sure persons willing to commit these acts get prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We thank everyone involved in the investigation to date and greatly appreciate the collaborative efforts all agencies involved in this case.”
ATF Special Agent in Charge Sam Rabadi stated, “Improvised explosive devices are not harmless fire crackers. They are dangerous, destructive, and can be very deadly. ATF will continue to work together with our state and local partners to protect the public we serve by investigating and arresting those who criminally misuse explosives.”
Anybody with information is urged to contact Trooper Jerry Harper of the Troop J Fire Marshal Unit at (717) 299-7650.