January 23rd, 2008 03:46 PM
Crazy Russian in NY
Bomb-making factory found in Brooklyn apartment of Columbia professor
BY ALISON GENDAR, MICHAEL WHITE AND TINA MOORE
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Monday, January 21st 2008, 4:00 AM
Police stumbled upon a bomb-making factory Sunday in the home of a Columbia professor who specializes in the spread of infectious disease - and are investigating whether he and his roommate have terror ties.
Cops evacuated the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood around the Remsen St. home of Michael Clatts, a medical anthropologist, after finding seven pipe bombs fitted with fuses in his flat, police sources said.
The frightening cache was discovered almost by accident - Ivaylo Ivanov, the man living with Clatts, accidentally shot off the tip of his left index finger and sought police help in the street about 1:15 a.m.
When investigators went to the 37-year-old Ivanov's apartment, they found the bombs, already capped on both ends and filled with powder. One of the pipe bombs was inserted into a Nerf football, cops said.
A 9-mm. handgun, two ammunition magazines, a 12-gauge shotgun, silencers, a bulletproof vest, a crossbow and bomb-making equipment, including a drill and threading machine that could be used to make pipe bombs, were also recovered, cops said.
Investigators with the NYPD-FBI were questioning Ivanov, a native of Bulgaria, to determine whether he had any terrorism or Russian Mafia connections, a source told the Daily News.
"Russian Mafia aren't fazed by getting a fingertip shot off - and they certainly don't go to the cops for help," the source said.
Neither man so far has popped up on any foreign criminal watch list or is a known member of an organized crime ring, sources said.
Sunday night, police were seeking additional search warrants, possibly for computers, other electronic devices and papers and books.
Ivanov was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, unlawful wearing of a body vest and reporting a false incident, cops said. He was expected to be arraigned this morning.
Police were also looking to question Clatts, 50, the Columbia University instructor living with Ivanov, a source told The News.
Alan Brasunas, a co-op board member at the 58 Remsen St. brownstone, confirmed Clatts owned the apartment and lived there with Ivanov.
"One has to assume Michael must have seen something at one point," Brasunas said. "It's not a huge apartment."
He said he interviewed Clatts before he was allowed to buy the fourth-floor unit.
"We obviously have concerns about both people," said Brasunas, who called the professor a "quiet, reserved person."
Clatts is a medical anthropologist with a specialty in epidemiology - the spread of disease among large populations.
He is an associate professor in Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and holds a Ph.D. from the Ivy League school.
The senior director of communication for the school, Randee Levine, said she cannot comment on a police investigation.
Clatts' exact relationship with Ivanov is unknown. Building residents said Clatts once described himself and Ivanov as roommates, nothing more.
Cops became suspicious of Ivanov because he first claimed he had been shot by a stranger but then admitted shooting himself. Fearing another person had been injured at the address, police went to the apartment and opened the door to the bomb factory. They immediately sealed the apartment while they got a search warrant, cops said.
Cops called the bomb squad, which evacuated the building and three others nearby and removed the materials. Residents were not allowed back inside for nearly 12 hours.
Police said last night they were uncertain whether all of the bombs were operative.
Ivanov has prior arrests for possession of drug paraphernalia, including hypodermic needles, a police source said. A man with the same name was deported from the U.S. a couple of years ago for drug dealing, but cops are unsure whether this is the same person, a police source said.
"They came to our door at 3:30 in the morning and told us we have to get out of the building," said Helen Silverstein, who lives in a building next-door. "The .police were very good about it - they didn't panic us, they helped us get our cats out."
Residents familiar with Ivanov described him as tall, thin, unkempt and a loner. A police source said he had five arrests on charges of petty larceny.
Cops said other witnesses who had gone in and out of the apartment didn't see the weapons.
Police were trying to determine where the materials came from, how Ivanov obtained them and what he intended to do with the suspected pipe bombs.
Brasunas said Ivanov did not appear to have a regular job and was seen around the building frequently talking about the weather or walking his dog.
"That's what makes it that much more unnerving," Brasunas said. "A neighbor you didn't have any qualms about - and this situation happens. It's something you don't expect to happen here."
January 23rd, 2008 03:56 PM
That seems pretty unusual.
What I find really scary is his roommate is medical anthropologist, I wonder what dieases he has access too.
“You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”
― Robert A. Heinlein,
January 23rd, 2008 04:22 PM
I think maybe I put this in the wrong forum though. Feel free to move!
January 23rd, 2008 09:03 PM
"A 9-mm. handgun, two ammunition magazines, a 12-gauge shotgun, silencers, a bulletproof vest, a crossbow and bomb-making equipment, including a drill and threading machine that could be used to make pipe bombs, were also recovered, cops said."
At least the media got it right, it's not a CLIP!
January 23rd, 2008 09:52 PM
Surprised they didn't call it an "arsenal".
January 23rd, 2008 10:19 PM
"My God David, We're a Civilized society."
"Sure, As long as the machines are workin' and you can call 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, and you scare the crap out of them; no more rules...You'll see how primitive they can get."
-The Mist (2007)
January 23rd, 2008 10:55 PM
Simple explanation...(media style)
Originally Posted by cphilip
BG with illegal multi-guns = BG with more than one gun...
GG with legal gun collection = Wacko with arsenal
The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.
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