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Police detonate pipe bomb they say was meant for motorcycle owner

A Modesto man was arrested Monday on charges of manufacturing explosives following an incident where he allegedly tried unsuccessfully to blow up a Merced man's motorcycle.

Deputy Paul Barile, Merced County Sheriff's Department spokesman, said Gregory Braverman, 35, and Jerome Phillips, 56, both of Modesto, were booked into jail after their 1 p.m. arrest at a home in the 1400 block of Locke Road in Modesto.

According to police, Braverman tried unsuccessfully at 5:30 a.m. to light a fuse between a pipe bomb and a Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle belonging to a man living in the 4100 block of North Highway 59. Braverman formerly lived at that address, was an ex-boyfriend of the victim's daughter and was in a civil dispute with the tenant over utility bills, Barile said.

The Merced Police Department's bomb squad was called out to dispose of the pipe bomb, made of three-quarter inch galvanized pipe, with metal end caps. Detective Dave Alcaraz, bomb squad supervisor, said the bomb had one of the longest fuses he has ever seen.

Alcaraz and officers Dan Dabney and Tim Gaches moved the pipe bomb to the backyard and placed it between sandbags. Using the disrupter on their remote-control robot, one of the end caps of the pipe bomb was knocked off and the device fizzled out.

Barile said Major Crimes Unit officers served a search warrant at the Modesto address and discovered a bomb-making operation, including two pipe bombs being built. A large quantity of methamphetamine and drug packaging materials also were discovered.

Both Braverman and Phillips were charged with manufacturing and possession of explosives, possession of methamphetamine and criminal conspiracy. Phillips also was charged with possession of meth for sale.

Braverman and Phillips remained in Merced County Jail Monday night in lieu of $510,000 and $520,000 bail respectively, according to a correctional official.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at 209-385-2485 or dyawger@mercedsun-star.com.

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