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Federal investigators look into Weirton explosives

Updated: Friday, May 30 2014, 11:44 AM EDT

WTOV9.com
WHEELING, W.Va. -- It was a story that sent shockwaves through the Ohio Valley -- a disturbing discovery made by police several weeks ago of three explosives found just feet away from the city building.
Since that time, an arrest was made and the suspect has appeared in court and new details about a federal investigation into this case have emerged.
"It's not something that we typically hear about in the Northern Panhandle or in Weirton, W.Va., so it's something very serious and something we are going to spend a lot of time prosecuting," U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld of the Northern District of West Virginia said.
David Patterson’s alleged crimes are shocking, so when you hear that there is a federal investigation underway, maybe, you shouldn't be surprised.
“It was great heads up work by the officer who picked up on it and contained it before it became worse,” Ihlenfeld said.
Patterson faces three state charges for criminal use of an explosive device, but there could be more once federal investigators finish pouring over evidence.
"They would be pretty serious, and once again, I go back to what I said. We have to determine whether they are a destructive device or a weapon of mass destruction,” Ihlenfeld said. “If we receive that opinion from the FBI lab … the punishment could be severe for the suspect in this case."
That means the potential for a long time behind bars.
"If it's determined to meet that definition the penalty could be up to life in prison,” Ihlenfeld said. “Now whether one would receive that is a different story."
But the definition won't be the only thing that could put Patterson behind bars for a long time. Ihlenfeld said there are still other factors that could play a role.
"There are other steps that are being taken by the FBI to support this investigation that are going on this week,"
Patterson is being held in the northern regional jail on $150,000 bond.

Federal investigators look into Weirton explosives


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