MYERSTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – A man is headed to trial for placing an explosive device outside his Myerstown apartment building and causing an evacuation of the building on Sunday.
David Oxenreider, 28, waived a preliminary hearing Thursday, allowing the three charges against him to proceed to Lebanon County court. He is charged with felony counts of possessing weapons of mass destruction, risking a catastrophe, and terroristic threats.
State police in Jonestown said the explosive could have caused serious injury if it had been detonated. They described the device as two butane tanks that had been taped together and wrapped in a cloth with metal staples. The tanks were then placed in a bag with a hatchet and a phone charger.
Oxenreider told police he did not intend to hurt anyone but wanted to get their attention “to tell them something bigger was coming,” the criminal complaint states.
When Oxenreider was interviewed at the police station, he told investigators he had an encounter with a UFO and aliens in 2014. He said the aliens told him that humans “need to start being good people” or the earth would be destroyed with a “nuclear laser beam,” according to the complaint.
Oxenreider told police he has been trying to spread the advice of the aliens, but no one listens to him. He said his main purpose for making the explosive was to get the police to talk to him, the complaint states.
The manager of the apartment building known as Bahney House, at 2 West Main Street, told police that Oxenreider had called him and told him he had made an explosive device that was inside his apartment. The manager said he told Oxenreider to remove the device, so Oxenreider took it outside and placed it next to a dumpster on the south side of the building.
Police were called and took Oxenreider into custody without incident. He told police that the explosive needed to be detonated manually. About 30 residents of Bahney House were evacuated due to fears that other devices may still be inside the apartment building.
Troopers with the Hazardous Device and Explosive Section responded and rendered the device safe. Similar materials as those used to make the explosive were found in Oxenreider’s room, police said.