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Conn. police nab men with pipe bombs, rifles

By John Christoffersen
Associated Press

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Two Connecticut men face charges of bomb making and other offenses after police say they found them in a Mercedes with explosives in a residential New Haven neighborhood.

It was unclear if the suspects planned to use the explosives because they are not talking to investigators, Officer Joseph Avery said Wednesday.

Police charged John Iannucci, 38, of Branford, and Jessup Bollinger, 27, of New Haven with manufacture of bombs, illegal possession of explosives and other charges.

Both men, who were being held on $500,000 bond, have been arrested recently. Iannucci was previously charged with bomb making.

"This is a great example of the importance of residents communicating with police about things that look suspicious and the swift and thoughtful response of our Officers," said Assistant Chief of Police Ken Gillespie.

Officers say they stopped the silver Mercedes Benz Tuesday night and found what appeared to be a pipe bomb, ammunition and other materials. Avery said authorities also found gas masks.

Authorities closed off a four-block area, but didn't order an evacuation. A bomb squad detonated the explosives without incident.

Ira Grudberg, an attorney who represented Bollinger when he was charged last month with third-degree assault, said he couldn't comment because hasn't spoken to his client about the current case.

Iannucci was also arrested by East Haven police in March on bomb-making and explosives charges after a device exploded inside a vehicle he was driving, police said. He was released on $25,000 bond.

Court records do not indicate an attorney for Iannucci, who pleaded not guilty to the charges. A telephone number for him was disconnected.

A woman who described herself as his "soon-to-be" former wife declined to comment.

East Haven Sgt. Bruce Scobie said Iannucci, who was unemployed at the time of his earlier arrest, told them he didn't intend to harm anyone, but didn't give a reason for why he had the explosives.

"I think he was experimenting with this stuff and playing with it like a kid plays with fireworks," Scobie said.

East Haven police said they searched his home where they found a few cases of a mixture that can be used to make explosives and cartridges that can be used for grenade launchers.

Iannucci's former neighbor, Andy Esposito, called Iannucci "peculiar." Esposito said Iannucci had night vision goggles he used to help Esposito find his cat and would mow his lawn as late as 10 p.m.

Iannucci seemed to have an addictive personality, saying he was into drugs as a young man before he found God, according to Esposito. He worked in heating and air conditioning, but said he was out on disability after he hurt his back, Esposito said.

Iannucci was suddenly driving a Mercedes before his first arrest and said he got a good deal from a friend who owned a dealership, Esposito said.

Esposito said Iannucci apologized after his first arrest, telling neighbors fireworks accidentally went off in his car.

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