The explosives found in the third-floor apartment belonging to a university professor were nothing more than "glorified fireworks for the Fourth of July," an attorney says.
Marcello DelCarlo, 36, was arrested Sunday at his workplace at Rush University Medical Center after police, responding to a domestic violence call at his apartment several blocks away, found a dozen tubes of homemade dynamite.
The powder inside plaster-capped cardboard tubes was so unstable, authorities said, that one exploded as it was being moved. No one was hurt, but a sprinkler system in the building on the 1600 block of West Ogden Avenue activated and put out the fire.
The assistant biochemistry professor was charged with felony possession of an explosive and misdemeanor domestic battery.
According to his alleged girlfriend, DelCarlo threatened to hit her and shook her violently as she tried to remove her belongings. She said he planned to trade the explosives for methamphetamine.
In all, authorities said there were originally 14 tubes. One exploded in the apartment and another was detonated in Lansing. The Chicago Police Bomb and Arson Squad removed the 12 remaining tubes and detonated them safely.
In court, attorney Scott Yu said the explosives were homemade fireworks intended for Independence Day.
DelCarlo was already under court supervision for possessing a firearm without a valid Firearm Owners Identification card, prosecutors said. Yu said that was only because his client failed to get the documentation to renew it.
DelCarlo was ordered held on $200,000 bond in connection with the explosives and a $25,000 bond in connection with the alleged battery.