Gardiner murder suspect may have hidden ‘improvised pyrotechnics’ in woods, police warn

Posted May 07, 2014, at 6:50 p.m.

RICHMOND, Maine — Police in Richmond and Gardiner are alerting residents that murder suspect Leroy Smith III may have placed improvised pyrotechnics in and around wooded areas in the two towns.

Smith, 24, was charged Tuesday with killing his father, Leroy Smith II, at the Gardiner apartment the two shared. On Monday morning, police found the remains of the elder Smith in a wooded area off Lincoln Street in Richmond, about 8 miles from the Cannard Street apartment where Smith apparently was killed.

Police said Leroy Smith III told them where to find his father’s remains. On Wednesday, Richmond Police Chief Scott MacMaster said Smith also told state police that he made 25 to 45 “improvised primitive-type pyrotechnics” and placed them in and around wooded areas.

“We’re going on a description that they may be about the size of a toilet paper roll, and wrapped up in duct tape,” MacMaster said. “He said they were made to alert him to where people walk so he could know where to camp or plant marijuana.”

On Tuesday afternoon, police from both towns joined Maine State Police and a bomb-sniffing dog to search areas where Smith, who is an avid hiker and walker, had been spotted, according to MacMaster. They searched 3 miles of woods, Gardiner Estate Trails and Rolling Dam Brook Trails off Route 24, but found nothing.

“We can’t really substantiate that there are any pyrotechnics, but we can’t just discard it,” he said.

Authorities reconvened Wednesday morning at the Gardiner police station and formed three teams including police from both towns, three bomb dogs and two fire marshals to continue the search, MacMaster said.

On Wednesday evening, Richmond police planned to alert residents through a reverse-911 system, and officials from both towns planned to distribute fliers warning of the possible threat.

MacMaster advised residents to stay alert when walking on trails or working in their yards.

“Keep your eyes open, don’t touch anything, and give us a call if you see anything suspicious in nature,” he said.

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