New Jersey's largest Labor Day parade was canceled Monday after a cooler of fireworks left at a Sunday concert led police to find "multiple small explosive devices" on a property near the parade route, prosecutors and law enforcement officials say.
The South Plainfield Labor Day parade and fireworks display was canceled Monday morning due to a "security concern," the borough announced on Facebook. Governor Phil Murphy was supposed to be marching in the parade.
The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office said an investigation began when a suspicious package containing a "destructive device" was found at Donovan's Reef in Sea Bright Sunday night. The package was found by cleaning crew around 11 p.m. after a Guns 4 Hire concert, a senior law enforcement official told NBC 4.
A man had brought a cooler of fireworks to the concert and then left the cooler near the venue, a senior law enforcement official told NBC 4. When questioned, the man said he brought the fireworks to the concert hoping they would be set off at the end.
When they would not allow it, the cooler was left at the concert site, prompting an investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and the Sea Bright Police Department that led them to the home of Thomas G. Kaiser, 55, of South Plainfield.
There they found more fireworks and destructive devices near his home, which is in the vicinity of the start of the South Plainfield Labor Day Parade.
There was no indication any of the devices were planted because of the parade, however the man's home was close to the parade route so the governor and law enforcement decided to cancel as a precaution, prosecutors said.
Kaiser was arrested and charged with one count of possession of a destructive device for an unlawful purpose in the second degree and one count of possession of a destructive device in the third degree.
Gaiser had earlier been seen trying to deliver a homemade device to a band member at the concert, a senior law enforcement official said. The device was removed and determined to be a large m-80 firework.
At Kaiser's home -- where he was said to be living with his parents in the basement -- the New Jersey State Police Bomb Unit assisted police in dismantling devices. Officials said police were previously aware of Kaiser, who was known to have some mental issues.
The 62nd Annual South Plainfield Labor Day Parade was set to kick off at 10 a.m. Monday. The event was billed as New Jersey's oldest and largest Labor Day parade.
On Monday afternoon, South Plainfield mayor Matthew Anesh assured residents there was no longer a threat to the public. "Residents should feel free to go about their normal daily activities. The area around the PAL and community pool have been fully searched."