Police: Ridgefield mechanic had live grenade in basement

Photo of Peter Yankowski

A live grenade and components to build seven more, six unmarked AR-15-type rifles, and homemade silencers were among the items seized from a Tackora Trail home in March, according to court documents.

Mark Albin, 50, is due to appear in Danbury Superior Court Tuesday, Aug. 6. The Ridgefield mechanic was charged with illegal bomb manufacturing, possession of a silencer, possession of unregistered assault weapons, and possession of unregistered high-capacity magazines on March 28, after Ridgefield police responded to a domestic incident at his home.

Police arrested Albin for disorderly conduct, and seized guns he had stored in his home for safekeeping, according to his arrest affidavit. Albin took one of the officers aside and told him he had several illegal guns, the court documents indicate.

Albin was told the police would collect the guns and meet him at the station. He left, and drove himself to the police station, the affidavit says. He gave police consent to search his home and “was allowed to come and go as he pleased,” before he was charged for the illegal firearms, going outside the station several times to smoke and “even left to purchase coffee,” the affidavit said.

When police searched his basement, officers found “what appeared to be explosive devices (i.e., hand grenades) within a cardboard box on a table,” the affidavit said.

The state police bomb squad responded and determined one of the grenades was “a homemade explosive consisting of a M67 grenade body, filled with black powder, and fitted with a fusing system.”

The baseball-shaped grenade is commonly used and carried by American military personnel in combat. Grenades issued by the military releases a cloud of metal fragments, and can kill within 15 feet of the blast, according to a U.S. Army Field Manual from 1988.

Speaking to The Ridgefield Press in March, Albin described the explosive device as components for a tear-gas grenade he purchased over the internet.

The inventory of weapons seized from his house also included a “green can with 37mm shell parts” and “exploded 37mm shells,” along with a 37mm launcher.

Police disposed of the black powder with a controlled detonation. Authorities also seized 16 unregistered assault weapons, six of which were listed as AR-15-type rifles without serial numbers; six firearm suppressors; and 78 unregistered high-capacity magazines.

In interviews with The Press, Albin described himself as a hobbyist who never harmed anyone, and said that he did not register several of his guns because he built them at home.

He characterized the domestic dispute as a verbal argument with his wife.

Albin told police during an interview he “was just ‘prepping’ and never detonated or shot off any of the things he manufactured,” the affidavit said. He told police he never registered “any of the other items” because he was “aggravated with how long things took to get registered” and the amount of work required, the affidavit said.

“He stated that he never thought there would be an issue with police because the items never left his home,” the affidavit said.

Albin was released after his bond was reduced from $100,000 to $50,000. He is being represented in court by Eugene Riccio, a Fairfield-based criminal defense attorney.