HOLYOKE – The 29-year-old son of a former Holyoke Police sergeant is in custody on bomb-making charges after several pipe bombs were found Tuesday in a bag in the garage at his Pleasant Street residence.
Gregory A. Bennett, a resident of 91 Pleasant Street is charged with four counts of possession of illegal possession of incendiary devices. Bennett is the son of former Holyoke Police Sgt. Gary Bennett, who owns the Pleasant Street property.
The discovery of the devices Tuesday afternoon by a family member who alerted police led to the evacuation of as many as six neighboring houses, and the closing of Pleasant Street to traffic.
The state police bomb squad and members of the FBI and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on the scene for several hours Tuesday afternoon and into the night.
The bomb squad took the devices and “rendered them safe,” according to the office of state Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey. The materials have been turned over to the state police Crime Lab.
Bennett was scheduled to be arraigned in Holyoke District Court on Wednesday morning. Information about the arraignment was not available.
According to court documents, Bennett has been in trouble with police previously. In 2018, he was charged with unlawful possession of ammunition, and at the beginning of August, Holyoke police filed a criminal complaint against him for reportedly shining a laser pointer at passing vehicles. He also has what is described as “a long history” of harassing people.
Family members told police they all believe Bennett has “mental health issues.”
The police report filed by Holyoke Police Officer Erik J. Martin notes he was called to the Pleasant Street home by Bennett’s brother, Jason Bennett.
Jason Bennett, who does not live at the Pleasant Street home, went into his father’s garage to work on his bicycle. He spotted a black binocular bag on a shelf in the rear of the garage that appeared to have been placed there recently.
When he peeked inside, he spotted a number of black cylinder-shaped objects that were wrapped with electrical tape and appeared to have wicks. He immediately thought they were homemade bombs, and called Martin on Martin’s cellphone.
Martin, in his report, said when he looked into the bag, as a result of his police training and his experience as a soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan, he “immediately recognized these to be consistent with home-made improvised explosive devices, specifically ‘pipe bombs.’
Martin then backed out of the garage and called the fire department, which ordered the neighborhood evacuation.
A search warrant was obtained for the entire premises, and the search revealed an undisclosed amount of fireworks and spent shell casings. The fireworks were fitted with green wicks that matched the wicks on the pipe bombs, according to police.
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