WOODMERE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The man who police say stocked his suburban Long Island home with guns, explosives and dozens of marijuana plants pleaded not guilty on Thursday.
Marc Ringel, 53, was arraigned in the morning on reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal use of a firearm charges. He is being held without bail.
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Police said the unemployed divorcee was living in his parents’ Woodmere home on Narrow Lane while they were in Florida. His parents were in court for his arraignment.
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Thursday morning, police were still in front of the home that investigators say was filled with 135 guns, grenades, pipe bombs, explosive materials and marijuana, though Ringel’s attorney, Saul Bienenfeld, insisted the explosive devices were in pieces, reports CBS 2′s Carolyn Gusoff. In fact, Bienenfeld said Ringel helped law enforcement “and said to them ‘nothing there you have to worry about. Do not pull any pins and everything will be okay.’”
“There was enough explosive material there to level that house and possibly the entire block,” Nassau County Police Chief Steven Skrynecki said Wednesday.
Police evacuated everyone within a 500 foot radius of the home Tuesday night while authorities say DEA agents cleared out the pot plants and FBI and ATF agents confiscated the weapons and explosives.
Police said they also discovered a shallow pit in the backyard.
“It appears this pit might have been used for testing explosives,” Skrynecki said.
A tripped silent house alarm initially brought police to the home Tuesday night. That’s when they say officers saw a handgun and two hand grenades in plain view.
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But Bienenfeld said the search of Ringel’s home was improper and he plans to file a motion to exclude the evidence.
Investigators said Ringel hasn’t provided much insight as to why he allegedly kept the massive stash. His lawyer said that most of Ringel’s guns were antiques and called the gun collection “a hobby that got out of control.”
“He is a 53-year-old man going through a terrible divorce,” said Bienenfeld. “He is having child custody issues and he is dealing with this by trying to get into the antique auction gun business.”
However, neighbors weren’t about to give the accused a pass.
“It’s not a hobby that I would pursue. It’s not a hobby that anyone should pursue,” Glenn Levine told CBS 2′s Gusoff.
“It’s terrifying and thank God, thank God they caught it,” added neighbor Aryeh Smith.
“It’s hard to believe that such a thing went on and no one really knew about it,” Debbie Fogel said.
Bienenfeld would not comment on the marijuana, but insisted that his client is not a threat to public safety.
“Mr. Ringel is not tied to any terrorist groups. There is no evil intent here,” said Bienenfeld. “It just doesn’t exist.”
Police have said they don’t believe Ringel was a member of any extremist or terror groups. He has two prior convictions for disorderly conduct and violating an order of protection in Arizona and Utah.
Ringel is due back in court on Monday.
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