Officer Did Not Tell Investigators About Military Explosive
Aug. 15, 1985
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ The police officer who assembled the bomb dropped on MOVE headquarters May 13 did not tell investigators it contained a powerful military explosive until Aug. 6, although he was asked about the bomb's contents six weeks earlier, according to a report published Thursday.
Officer William C. Klein said he did not disclose at a June meeting of police and fire officials that the device included C-4 because ''no one asked me,'' the Philadelphia Inquirer said.
But unidentified investigators quoted by the newspaper said Klein was asked specifically about the contents of the bomb at a June 25 meeting to plan a test of a bomb identical to that used on the radicals' fortress.
''We asked him what he used. And he said Tovex,'' said a Fire Department official, referring to the mining explosive originally thought to be the only material used in the bomb.
''As soon as he said that, what did we have to ask him: Were there jelly beans in it, too? Were there stones in it?'' said another meeting participant.
Klein was called in by Police Commissioner Gregore Sambor for another interview when reenactments of the MOVE explosion using Du Pont Tovex TR-2 failed to ignite a nearby gasoline can.
Fire investigators had determined that the bomb police dropped on the MOVE house following a daylong siege ignited a can marked gasoline.
The bomb was intended to knock a fortified bunker off the roof of the compound and make a hole in the roof in an effort to force out members of the radical group holed up inside. Eleven MOVE members died in the ensuing fire and 61 homes were destroyed.
A transcript of the Aug. 6 police interview with Klein that was obtained by the Inquirer disclosed that Klein decided on his own to add a 11/4 -pound block of C-4 to two one-pound sticks of Tovex.
''... I felt that Tovex by itself was not powerful enough to push the bunker off the roof and make a hole in the roof at the same time,'' Klein told a police interviewer Aug. 6.
The C-4 was included to make a hole in the roof so that police could drop gas, Klein said. Tovex was ''to push the bunker off the roof.''
Klein was asked, ''Did you tell anyone that you used C-4 in the device?''
''No. No one asked me,'' he replied.
He said he did not have time to tell his superiors about putting the C-4 into the bomb.
An Aug. 6 memo from Sambor to City Managing Director James. S. White obtained by the Inquirer outlines results of tests of explosive devices that had been thought identical to the MOVE bomb. The 4.54 pounds of Tovex failed to ignite a gasoline can 14 feet away, he said.
Sambor wrote that comparing videotapes of the May 13 explosion and those during reenactments showed that the flash from the MOVE bomb was greater than those in the tests.
''The contrast between the two explosions was readily apparent as to the intensity, size, duration and result,'' Sambor wrote. ''In short, it appeared that the May 13 incident did not in fact involve the use of two tubes of Tovex - the quantity and material which both I and the managing director (then Leo Brooks) both approved.''