MONMOUTH, N.J. - A former Rumson high school student was arrested in Ithaca New York. Maximilien R. Reynolds, 19, was charged with Possession of an Unregistered Destructive Device/Silencer, False Statement in Acquisition of a Firearm and False Statement in Required Firearm Record. Specifically, he is alleged to have possessed an MSR-15 Patrol Rifle, 300 rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest and and bomb making equipment as well.
The charges are contained in a complaint that include frightening possibilities. Authorities began a review of the situation on March 7th after a tip from a Walmart employee. The employee indicated that purchases were made by Reynolds with a gift card that appeared suspicious. The employee was following advice being shared by all law enforcement officials, "if you see something, say something'. In this instance it was very useful to FBI Special Agent Bomb Technician D. Acquavella who went to investigate. What he discovered on Dryden Road in Ithaca New York that day may have saved countless lives.
Ithaca Police Department and SABT Acquavella went to the subjects apartment at about 2PM that day. He wasn't there but his girlfriend was there. Inside, the concerns increased immediately. Reynolds had earlier purchased firearms ammunition, hacksaw blades, knives and other items that tipped off the Walmart employee. Reynolds, who had previously been enrolled at Cornell, according to investigators, was on temporary leave of absence and taking classes at Tompkins-Cortland Community College. He had previous contact with Ithaca Police Department in June of 2016 when he was detained under Section 941 of the New York State Mental Hygiene Law.
His apartment "was in severe disarray, with random piles of clothing, food, laboratory glassware and other items strewn about. What appeared to be mathematical writings were written on the west facing windows of the apartment in red ink. Some food was present on the bed..." according to the filed charges.
"FBI Special Agent Joel Mercer observed in plain view...a bullet resistant vest. Strewn throughout the apartment in plain view were numerous items of camouflage or military style clothing as well as tactical type items, such as knives, flashlights and what appeared to be a military style gas mask."
The agents were initially in discussions with the subjects girlfriend but then waited for Reynolds to return home. He did and they had an extensive discussion.
Evidence of opened shotgun shells were in the apartment as well as mortar rounds commonly used for reloadable fireworks. At this point the evidence ran darker as they discovered dangerous devices in the apartment. "The alleged destructive device clearly appears to have steel or lead shot similar to that used in shotgun shells affixed to the outside of the mortar round using black colored tape to hold it in place, as the outline of the small shot spheres is visible through the tape on the outside of the device. The explosive powder lift charge normally present in the bottom of the mortar round in question has been removed...which would cause it to explode and propel the attached shot outwards as fragmentation.. Consumer fireworks do not normally have fragmentation, which is designed to inflict injury or death."
During the investigation, they also discovered the silencer, ballistic body armor, a gas mask, a metal pipe with one endcap and numerous containers of chemicals used in the manufacture of homemade explosives. the report also states that they located "numerous ball bearings of numerous sizes that could be used as fragmentation of shrapnel in an explosive device."
His lawyer, Ray Schlather, argued in U.S. District Court in Syracuse on Friday that Reynolds suffers from "a huge paranoia of the world beyond him" and is dedicated to "protecting himself from that world," according to the Cornell Daily Sun, a student newspaper.
The lawyer said Reynolds has been diagnosed with schizoaffective bipolar disorder with paranoid features, the paper reported. U.S. Magistrate Judge Therese Wiley Dancks ordered that he undergo evaluation to assess his competency to stand trial.
Reynolds faces up to 40 years in prison.