WATERVLIET, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Watervliet police arrested Robert Melendez, 40, of Clifton Park after officers investigated a complaint of an explosion near Fourth Street and Seventh Avenue on Sept. 24, 2021. Community residents reportedly described the sound as an “explosion” which was said to be heard by Watervilet police officers around one mile away.
Once on scene, police say officers saw a car with extensive damage. Detectives started a coordinated investigation with help from the New York State Police (NYSP) and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). On Oct. 8, 2021, investigators reportedly executed a search warrant related to the explosion and in the process inadvertently found two unlawfully possessed handguns, a 30-round extended magazine, ammunition, and cocaine.
Watervliet police arrested Melendez and charged him with the following:
- Criminal Mischief in the 1st Degree (Class B Felony)
- Arson in the 3rd Degree (Class C Felony).
- Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree (Class C Felony),
- Two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 3rd Degree (Class D Felony) and
- Two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 3rd Degree (Class B Felony).
He was arraigned in Clifton Park Town Court and remanded to the Saratoga County Correctional Facility in lieu of bail.
“I cannot overstate how difficult and dangerous these types of investigations can be. The quick
notification by the residents, along with the attention to detail of the responding officers was
instrumental to the case,” said Watervliet Police Chief Joseph Centanni. “This defendant used an
explosive device to cause extensive damage to a vehicle, along with unlawfully possessing two
handguns and a high-capacity magazine. We remain committed to working with our law
enforcement partners and the community to relentlessly pursue and remove dangerous criminals
from the streets,” concluded Centanni.
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