SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A South Plainfield man was arrested and charged with possession of a destructive device for an unlawful purpose after authorities canceled Monday’s Labor Day Parade and other related activities there.
Additional charges are expected against 55-year-old Thomas Kaiser, authorities said.
Gov. Phil Murphy and his wife Tammy had been scheduled to march in the parade, which had been set to start at 10 a.m.
S PLAINFIELD BORO: Labor Day Parade & Fireworks are canceled due to a security concern. Police are conducting an investigation at this time. https://t.co/MjwvfrrMrV
— South Plainfield NJ (@BoroughofSPlfd) September 2, 2019
Authorities announced their decision to call off the parade on social media at around 7:15 a.m. due to a “security concern.” A heavy police presence appeared along the parade route as well as in in Spring Lake Park.
The parade, a 5k run and fireworks display were all canceled. Authorities said they made the decision “out of an abundance of caution and due to the potential threat to the community.”
According to authorities, a suspicious package with “a destructive device” was left at Donovan’s Reef bar in Sea Bright.
“During the investigation, it was learned that there were other destructive devices near [Kaiser’s] home which is located in the vicinity of the start of the South Plainfield Labor Day Parade,” according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
Police say they found additional “destructive devices” at Kaiser’s home, not far from the parade route.
“They found one explosive firework in a bar in Sea Bright. That’s it, there’s nothing more,” Kaiser’s brother, who wouldn’t give his name, told CBS2’s Nick Caloway. He said no explosives were found at the family home.
“There’s nothing going on. No explosives on the parade route. No pipe bombs. No nothing,” he said.
Authorities urges anyone who sees a suspicious package to contact law enforcement.
Maple Avenue should’ve been packed with people: Instead, it was deserted, with empty chairs lining the parade route, reported Caloway.
“That’s crazy. I honestly had no idea. I honestly thought they canceled the parade because of the rain. That’s usually what they do. I had no idea about the security threat. That’s actually scary, to be honest. Because you have no idea what could happen,” said resident Genesis Acevedo, who lives near the parade route.
Little Asmar Johnson was looking forward to playing bass guitar in the parade. His father was disappointed the parade had to be canceled, but said safety is more important.
“It’s all about people being safe. We’ve got a lot of kids out here,” his father said.
So far police have not released a motive.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sea Bright Police Department at (732) 842-0010, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 803-5406, or the South Plainfield Police Department at (908) 755-0700.