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Documents: Suspect in Madison chemical arrest likely testing explosives

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UPDATE (WKOW) -- A Madison man's bail is set at $100,000, as a prosecutor says the suspect's cache of chemicals and devices appear to have been gathered to build pipe bombs.

Dane County Court Commissioner Jason Hanson Monday also barred 30-year-old IT professional Brian Campbell from being at the Timberlake Village Apartments on the city's west side.

Madison Police spokesperson Joel DeSpain says 25 families evacuated from the apartment complex last week after authorities said they found potentially dangerous chemicals in McNamara's apartment and garage were allowed to move back in beginning Saturday.

Assistant Dane County District Attorney John Rice says the discovered chemicals were just one concern.

"There were a number of things found there that would seem to be used to manufacture pipe bombs," Rice said.

There was dispute over Campbell's bail, as a risk assessment tool being used in half of Dane County's new arrest cases recommended Campbell be set free on his signature.

"They use evidence-based information and they did in this case," says Campbell's attorney Sarah Schmeiser.  "The information that has been presented to the court and the judges...and what they found is he is not a high risk to not appear in court, or face other charges," Schmeiser says.

The risk assessment tool is part of a two year study and employs a nine point scoring system, to include bail factors such as history of missed court appearances, and the severity of the suspected actions.  Campbell faces no criminal charges yet, but probable cause has been found to believe he committed the felony crime of possessing explosives.

In rejecting the idea of releasing Campbell with no cash bail, Hanson said the risk assessment process missed elements of the potential danger of Campbell's suspected actions as it categorized his potential criminal offense.

Campbell is already banned from the UW-Madison campus after being found responsible for battering a fellow member of the Hoofers Sailing Club.

A sailing club instructor tells 27 News Campbell could have had chemicals used to treat sail boats, as Campbell did work on at least one boat.

But court records show among the items seized from Campbell were a fuse cord and a.homemade detonator.

Rice says Campbell is expected to be criminally charged by Wednesday.


UPDATE (WKOW) -- Residents of an apartment building evacuated last week following the discovery in one unit of a large amount of possible bomb-making chemicals were allowed to return to the homes Sunday, according to a police department spokesperson.


MADISON (WKOW) - Newly-filed court documents show state investigators think materials to make IEDs (improvised explosive devices) were among the chemicals and items found in a Madison man's apartment and garage.

The records are connected to a search of Brian N. Campbell's unit at Timberlake Village Apartments, and they include information from a National Guard Science Officer that evidence in Campbell's apartment indicated he had been likely testing explosive material.

Authorities evacuated Campbell's west side apartment building Tuesday, and Campbell was arrested, as authorities said a large quantity of unspecified but potentially dangerous chemical material was.found. 

The Madison Police Department and Madison Fire Department were called about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 to the building on Timber Lake Trail following complaints about an odor.

Campbell is the resident of the apartment that contained chemicals that were deemed to have created a potentially volatile situation.

Police say evidence does not suggest this was a meth lab, but what exactly the suspect was doing with the materials has not been thoroughly evaluated.

Subject matter experts from several federal agencies are collaborating to identify the chemicals and their potential use.

Madison Fire Chief Steve Davis said upon entering the apartment, they found numerous chemicals and called in additional resources.

"When we first got there, there was enough sophistication that it had all the potential to be something flammable or could be a bomb,"  Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said during a Tuesday evening news conference.

"There was a lot of stuff, disheveled, and a lot of chemicals," Koval said.

Koval said they are taking their time to investigate.

Altogether, 25 households have been evacuated and have been moved off site, Davis said.

"There was such a mix of chemicals and flammable liquids that usually aren't seen together," Davis said.

Officials are receiving assistance from the FBI, state Department of Criminal Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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