Locally Made Bombs Found in Bethel Township Residence

A Bethel Township man who threatened his own life during the weekend faces serious charges after two suspected improvised explosive devices were found in his home early Monday morning.

Matt Strohm, 36 of Vandergrift, is charged with two felony counts of weapons of mass destruction, a felony count of causing or risking catastrophe and a misdemeanor charge of recklessly endangering another person.

The Pennsylvania State Police investigation began after Strohm allegedly placing a single-barrel shotgun in his mouth and grenades around his legs and told his parents about 9:30PM Sunday that he was going to kill himself.

Strohm left, but a few hours later, Police tried to get Strohm out of his Graham Road home, Trooper Dan Kesten described.

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“Very early (Monday) morning, about 10 minutes after midnight, troopers responded to 1335 Graham Road, Bethel Township. When we arrived, the troopers were met by Mr. Strohm who brandished two firearms – one rifle, one handgun,” Trooper Kesten said.

Police corporals heard a gunshot about 10 minutes following their response before Strohm referred to Pennsylvania State Police as “ISIS” and that “there would be a death on their hands.”

Because of that, the State Police Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) responded while there was a perimeter around the home near the Parks Township border to take Strohm into custody. Strohm was alone in the residence for about six hours.

According to the criminal complaint filed before Magisterial District Judge James Andring, troopers received a search warrant to enter the residence following his capture and found numerous firearms, ammunition and other surprises.

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“During that search, Trooper Vaccaro located a Nestle Quick container duct-taped – with what inside appeared to be explosive material, ball bearings and nails. Next to (the container) was a separate bag that contained what is suspected to be explosive material,” Trooper Kesten said.

The criminal complaint adds that another identical container was found during an additional search warrant on a desk by the front door. X-ray photographs confirmed ball bearings and nails inside the mixture before an olive foot locker with wires connected to the tailgate was found in Strohm’s 2015 Chevrolet Silverado truck – though with no explosive material inside.

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Trooper Kesten confirmed nobody was injured with the weapons or explosive devices. Strohm was the only individual at the residence, and the address is “in somewhat of a remote area.”

“The bomb squad inspected the items, removed the items from the residence and successfully disposed of the items,” Trooper Kesten said. “We didn’t initially think there would be any of these devices or explosives. It’s definitely not something typical we come across.”

Strohm is reportedly in a mental health facility rather than the Armstrong County Jail.

Trooper Kesten encouraged local residents that know of others producing or researching these explosives to notify appropriate law enforcement.