Crime and Courts

Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.
New Jersey

Man Accused of Explosives Scare at New Jersey Labor Day Parade to Appear in Court

The man responsible for the cancellation of New Jersey's largest Labor Day parade is expected to appear in court Friday after prosecutors added more charges for 55-year-old accused of leaving fireworks and other "destructive devices" near the parade route.

Thomas G. Kaiser of South Plainfield allegedly left a cooler of fireworks at a Sunday concert which led police to find other multiple explosive devices, according to law enforcement officials. In addition to being charged with possession of a destructive device for an unlawful purpose, Kaiser was also charged with possession of prohibited devices and tampering with evidence, Middle Sex County prosecutors said.

While there was no indication any of the devices were planted because of the parade, the South Plainfield Labor Day parade and fireworks display had to be canceled Monday morning after the discovery of the devices, which posed as a "security concern." Governor Phil Murphy was supposed to be marching in the parade.

Kaiser tells News 4 that the devices are fireworks and that it was all a misunderstanding.

The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office said an investigation began when a suspicious package containing a "destructive device" was found at Donovan's Reef in Sea Bright Sunday night. The package was found by cleaning crew around 11 p.m. after a Guns 4 Hire concert, a senior law enforcement official told NBC 4. 

When questioned about the cooler of fireworks, Kaiser said he brought the fireworks to the concert hoping they would be set off at the end.

Kaiser had earlier been seen trying to deliver a homemade device to a band member at the concert, a senior law enforcement official said. The device was removed and determined to be a large m-80 firework.

At Kaiser's home -- where he was said to be living with his parents in the basement -- the New Jersey State Police Bomb Unit assisted police in dismantling devices. Officials said police were previously aware of Kaiser, who was known to have some mental issues.

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