Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story referenced a possession charge that Albin received in 2011 in North Carolina. The charge — a violation of G.S. 9095(D)(2), “Possess an immediate precursor chemical with intent to manufacture methamphetamine” — was dismissed. Albin said he was pulled over for a seatbelt violation and that a family member’s adderall pill was in the center console of the vehicle. “It never went anywhere,” Albin said. “It was dropped before I went to court … possession is different than manufacturing.”
The Ridgefield man arrested for possession of assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines and silencers, said Friday he plans to fight the charges in court.
While removing firearms from the house, Ridgefield police also discovered an “explosive device.”
The illegal firearms included 76 unregistered high-capacity ammunition magazines, 16 assault weapons and six silencers. The device was later removed by the state police bomb squad.
“I’m not a killer, I’m not a bad guy,” said Mark Albin, who Ridgefield police originally arrested for disorderly conduct at 12:30 a.m. Thursday after receiving a domestic disturbance call from inside his Tackora Trail home.
Albin said he knew he had unregistered ammunition, but that it remained locked in a safe and never left his home.
“I never left my house with anything that was unregistered,” he said. “I keep everything in a locked safe.”
Albin said the explosive device found inside his home was a tear gas grenade.
“I bought some parts online,” he said. “It wasn’t even assembled.”
“The (state police) bomb squad at the scene told the Ridgefield police that it was up to them to press charges,” he said. “And that’s because it wasn’t a weapon.”
Ridgefield police charged him with manufacturing a bomb. State police did not bring charges.
When asked about Albin’s statements, Ridgefield police Capt. Shawn Platt said he couldn’t confirm or deny any details as the case heads to court.
On Thursday, Albin posted a $100,000 bond for the bomb and firearms charges and was released from police custody. He is due April 11 in Danbury Superior Court.
In addition, he posted a $500 bond for the disorderly conduct charge and is due in court May 7 on that charge.
“It is my understanding that he was very cooperative during the incident,” Platt said.
Mechanic and experimenter
Albin, 49, said his son called police after he got into a verbal altercation with his wife.
“We were having a loud argument and my kid got scared and called 911,” he explained. “Nothing physical happened. She didn’t want me to leave the house is all, and I didn’t want to stay.”
A mechanic, Albin said he was fired from his job at Limestone Service Station because of the arrest. The owners said Friday that Albin had been told to take a few weeks off, and had not been let go.
“I’m a mechanic, not a gunsmith,” Albin said. “I like building stuff from scratch, that’s all. And there’s plenty of documentation on the internet that’s readily available to anybody who wants to build guns from scratch.”
Albin said in addition to building weapons, he has been buying guns since he was 18.
“Some of the unregistered magazine clips they found came from weapons I bought 20 years ago when that magazine size was legal,” he said.
“I never used them,” he said. “I put them in my safe and they’ve sat in there since then … I own plenty of magazine clips that are within the legal limit and those are the ones I bring with me to the shooting range.”
Albin said he shoots at Wooster Mountain Shooting Range on the Ridgefield-Danbury border, as well as other local ranges.
“I’ve never fired a weapon in my yard or anything like that,” he said. “My neighbors know that and they’re supporting me.”
He admitted to making all six silencers from parts he purchased online, and denied selling any of the weapons he had made over the years.
“I like to experiment, I’m not going to shoot people,” Albin said. “The [silencers] were for different kinds of guns … Trust me, my neighbors would know if I were firing weapons even if there were silencers on them. Guns make a lot of noise. It’s not like in the movies where a silencer is applied and no sound comes out.”
People who knew Albin from his work as a mechanic were quick to defend him.
“I have nothing but good things to say about him,” said John Miceli. “Everybody’s going to try to badger the guy, but he is a very, very nice guy who got caught up in a really messed up situation. This whole gun thing in the state of Connecticut — a lot of things are interpreted on paper as legal and not legal — and there are a lot of variances to get stuff registered, and if you miss the timeline to get registered, you basically have something that’s unregistered and there’s no way to resolve the issue.”
Miceli said he blames the state of Connecticut for the nebulous gun laws.
“Anybody who knows about guns understands,” he said.
Miceli, who owns his own tree-cutting business, said he knows Albin from “around town.”
“He is a local mechanic — an honest, reputable guy,” Miceli said. “He’s fixed several cars for me over the years.”
Town resident Chris Patterson said Albin helped him out about six months ago after Patterson’s son got in a car accident.
“He always did the right thing by me,” Patterson said.
“I was ready to have [the car] hauled away and taken in for junk … they were saying it was going to cost $5,000 to fix it, but he took a look at it and he said, ‘No. Let me do something.’ He went way out of his way to repair the under-body of this car, and he did it for $600.”
“He was a solid guy, so I’m disappointed in this development. It’s a bummer.”
Patterson said he grew up with Albin in Ridgefield.
“He was in school when I was in school, and then I just kind of saw him when he was working up at the service station,” he said. “So there was kind of a work relationship, certainly, and then a previously existing relationship.”
Patterson acknowledged some of Albin’s previous postings on Facebook. One image he posted reads “Now I lay me down to sleep/Beside my bed a glock I keep/If I wake and find you inside/The coroner’s van will be your last ride.”
The images, both posted in 2014, have since been removed from Albin’s personal Facebook page.
When Albin fixed Patterson’s car, it had “Obama-Biden bumper stickers and NPR stickers on it,” Patterson said. “We could not have been further apart in our political perspectives, but we got along.”
Patterson said Albin nonetheless managed “to be friendly and helpful and kind to me.”
“He doesn’t look kind [on Facebook]; some of his postings weren’t kind — but he was to me, so it just speaks to the complexity and layers to people that our world doesn’t seem to appreciate.”
“I see the response to the situation in Facebook posts, and I think there’s more to everybody than that,” Patterson said. “It’s a bummer. I’m disappointed and I was aware that he was a Second Amendment guy — that’s for sure, and that’s not my bag, but I can respect that, but I’m not sure what the hell the bomb was doing there or if, in fact, that was the case.”
“The whole thing’s a bummer. I hope he’s going to be all-right, and I’m glad no one was hurt,” Patterson said.