Police: Clifton Park man detonated explosive on SUV in Watervliet

The damaged vehicle and Robert J. Melendez - Credit: Watervliet Police Department

The damaged vehicle and Robert J. Melendez - Credit: Watervliet Police Department

WATERVLIET – A Clifton Park man has been arrested, accused of detonating an explosive on a SUV in Watervliet last month, police said.

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No injuries were reported in the explosion, but it could be heard by police officers about a mile away, police said.

Arrested was Robert J. Melendez, 40, of Clifton Park. He faces a host of charges, including first-degree criminal mischief and third-degree arson, felonies.

The investigation began Sept. 24 in the area of Fourth Street and Seventh Avenue in Watervliet, police said.

Police received complaints of a detonated explosive device in the area. Residents described the sound as an explosion, police said.

Officers arrived to find a vehicle with extensive damage. Photos provided showed the windshield shattered near its base.

Detectives in Watervliet received assistance from the state police and the FBI. On Oct. 8, the investigation led them to a search connected to Melendez, officials said, where investigators found two unlawfully possessed handguns, a 30-round extended magazine, ammunition and cocaine, police said.

Melendez was also charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, felonies.

The top criminal mischief charge, which is specifically damaging property of another person by explosive, would carry a potential top sentence of 25 years in prison, if convicted.

Melendez was arraigned and ordered held on bail.

“I cannot overstate how difficult and dangerous these types of investigations can be,” Watervliet Police Chief Joseph Centanni said in a statement. “The quick notification by the residents, along with the attention to detail of the responding officers was instrumental to the case.”

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Categories: News, Saratoga County

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