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Three face arson charges over Rotterdam explosions

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Michael Chambers

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Amy L. Brzoza

— Several instances of explosive devices being thrown at an East Claremont residence in Rotterdam have led to three town residents facing arson charges.

The Rotterdam Police Department, State Police Special Investigations Unit and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms carried out a joint investigation on the series of incidents. Investigators and agents had the High Bridge area of Rotterdam under surveillance for more than three weeks following four prior incidents of arson and criminal mischief at the East Claremont home, according to police.

On March 5, the home was damaged when an individual allegedly took a screwdriver to the side of the home, which resulted in hundreds of dollars in damage, according to police.

The first explosive device was allegedly detonated on March 11 on the victim’s truck while it was parked at his home, which police said caused more than $11,000 in damage. On March 17, while the resident was sleeping at his home, an explosive device was allegedly thrown into the front bedroom window, which police said caused thousands of dollars in damages to the home.

On March 24, around 10:05 p.m., an explosive device was allegedly thrown from a car traveling on East Claremont Avenue. Police said the device detonated on the roof of the same home as previous “attacks” and police said the explosion caused “significant damage” to the home.

Police surveillance units on Sunday, April 22, at approximately 11:30 a.m., allegedly observed Michael Chambers throw an explosive device from a vehicle traveling on East Claremont Avenue and it allegedly detonated on the roof of the same home.

Police attempted to pull over the vehicle by activating their emergency lights, but the suspect vehicle refused and allegedly struck a vehicle occupied by a State Police Investigator and the Rotterdam police chief’s vehicle, according to police. The investigator was reported to have sustained an injury to his shoulder from the crash and was treated by paramedics, according to police.

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