Lehigh County Man Indicted For Bringing Explosive Device into Bethlehem-Area ER

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PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Brian James Kunsman, 44, of PhiladelphiaPA, was charged by Indictment with one count of possession of an unregistered destructive device and one count of being a felon in possession of an explosive.

The Indictment alleges that in October 2021, the defendant possessed a ‘pipe bomb’ inside the emergency room at St. Luke’s University Hospital in the Fountain Hill section of the City of Bethlehem. An attending nurse discovered that Kunsman had brought the homemade destructive device in his backpack while he was a patient at the emergency room. Following the discovery, the emergency department of the hospital was evacuated for a two-hour period and all incoming trauma patients had to be diverted to other local hospitals.

The defendant is scheduled to make an initial appearance in federal court on these charges on Monday, January 24, 2022, before United States Magistrate Pamela Carlos in Allentown.

“Homemade explosive devices pose a grave threat to the general public when in the wrong hands, and bringing one into the emergency department of a hospital – an enclosed space where people are receiving acute medical care – is especially dangerous,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “We are grateful to our law enforcement partners for working quickly and efficiently to mitigate the threat posed by this defendant’s alleged actions.”

“ATF is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to keep our communities safe from violence,” said Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division. “As alleged, this defendant possessed a device which posed a substantial threat to hundreds of citizens. I would like to thank the Fountain Hill Police Department, the Allentown Bomb Squad, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their assistance in this investigation.” 

If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison, up to 3-years of supervised release, and a $260,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the Allentown Resident Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Borough of Fountain Hill Police Department, the Allentown Bomb Squad, and the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelly A. Lewis Fallenstein.

An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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