Germantown - A 33-year-old Germantown man was charged last week in Washington County Circuit Court with four felony counts of possessing improvised explosives after a slew of explosive devices were removed from a residence in the W14200 block of County Line Road.
Bodie Witzlib, 33, was arrested after more than 1,000 explosive devices were found in a Germantown home last week, prompting the Germantown Police Department to call in the National Guard and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. There were enough explosives to level the home killing anyone inside, with the potential to damage surrounding homes and traffic on the street, said Germantown Police Chief Peter Hoell.
Police were alerted to the explosives on April 30. They evacuated of homes in a one block radius and stopped traffic from coming onto the street.
The National Guard was called to the scene to test powders and residue and identify substances used to make the explosives by using a mobile lab and support team that can test the substances on site.
"The fact that he's creating these explosives with different chemicals in his basement means that not only do we have explosives and bombs but we also have residue and material that is lying around that needs to be tested so that's when we call into play the National Guard," Hoell said.
Once the explosives were identified and the situation was controlled, residents were allowed back into their homes. On May 1, members of the Milwaukee County bomb squad, Wisconsin National Guard and federal authorities removed more than 1,000 devices of various sizes, according to the criminal complaint. They were detonated in an empty gravel lot in Germantown, Hoell said.
Additional explosive powder, cardboard tubing and fuses also were removed from the residence's basement and a shed on the property. According to the complaint, Witzlib was making M-80s and he said he started a company called "G.I. Fireworks." He said he was in the process of obtaining a license to do so and was hoping to make $5 for each M-80, according to the complaint.
"Some people call these fireworks, these aren't. These are sticks of dynamite to varying degrees of length," Hoell said.
Witzlib faces fines of up to $10,000 and up to six years in prison for each count.
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Stakeholders host public information meeting to discuss future of Germantown golf course land
- Falls police investigating armed bank robbery
- Police Report: Dec. 2
- Germantown police investigating slew of overnight vehicle break-ins
- Common Core up in the air
- News & Notes: Nov. 26
- Cameras OK'd for all grade schools
- New Pick 'n Save hiring 125 employees (1)
- Police Report: Nov. 25
- Firm hired to review water rate, seek savings