Salisbury man charged in UMES bomb incident

University of Maryland Eastern Shore police made an arrest in connection with a bomb threat that targeted a construction site on campus in early July.

Maximino Melendez of Salisbury was charged with two counts each of making a threat of arson and a false statement of destructive device. All are felony charges.

Melendez, 26, was taken into custody without incident at the office of his probation officer in Salisbury around 8:30 a.m. today. He was being held in jail without bond pending a preliminary hearing.

Around 9:40 a.m. on July 6, a Somerset County emergency services dispatcher received two phone calls asserting that an explosive device was in or around UMES’ new engineering / aviation science classroom building under construction on the east side of campus.

The dispatcher alerted campus police, who in turn issued an emergency alert using electronic devices. Evacuation of the construction site also was ordered immediately as well as a nearby classroom building with research labs and the university’s physical plant.

Bomb sniffing dogs from other law enforcement agencies were brought in to clear the area and found no explosive devices.

The incident disrupted construction for much of that day and prompted some university officials as a precaution to release high school students participating in a popular summer work-study program held on the west side of campus.

UMES police used electronic tracking data to obtain a subpoena, which enabled investigators to identify Melendez as the prime suspect. According to UMES police, their investigation revealed Melendez, who is originally from New York, was a laborer at the UMES construction arranged by the Salisbury office of Labor Ready, a Tacoma, Wash.-based company that provides temporary employment.

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