Police arrested a “potential madman” on Tuesday after a routine assignment in Woodmere that led to the discovery of a large cache of explosives, weapons and marijuana, according to County Executive Edward Mangano and police officials.
Investigators found “enough explosive material to level the house and possibly the block,” which included 15 destructive devices, particularly pipe bombs, 15 improvised grenades and 50 pounds of ingredients that could be used to make explosives at 237 Narrow Lane, as well as about 100 handguns and 20 long guns, police officials said during a briefing on Wednesday.
Marc Ringel, 53, was arrested Tuesday afternoon and will be arraigned on explosives, weapons and drug charges. Police are still investigating his background and potential motives, but say they have no knowledge of him being connected to extremist groups or terrorists.
“I’d like to commend the officers for taking the extra steps in what could be described as a routine assignment,” Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Dale said. “Their attention to detail led to the discovery of an extremely dangerous situation and the arrest of an individual who poses a serious risk to the public.”
According to Nassau County detectives, around 1:30 p.m., Fourth Precinct police officers Robert Ryan and John Lutz responded to the Narrow Lane home for an alarm. Ringel, who was in the driveway, told the officers the alarm may have come from the van.
“The subject appeared a little nervous and said the house belonged to his parents,” Dale said.
Officers asked for identification and as Ringel opened the door, “a strong smell of marijuana emanated from the home,” police said. A handgun and two hand grenades were also observed in open view.
At that point, Dale said, Ringel attempted to push the officers out the door. The officers were able to secure him, back away from the premises and call for assistance.
Ringel was immediately taken into custody. About 20 surrounding homes were then evacuated and arson/bomb squad personnel responded to the scene.
That’s when the weapons and boxes of ammunition and shells were discovered strewn around the house, some in drawers, said Steven Skrynecki, chief of department. Units also found a marijuana grow house equipped with technology to grow the plant indoors.
In the backyard, investigators found a shallow pit with a wire leading in the house, Skrynecki said. It may have been used to test the explosives.
None of Ringel’s neighbors reported to police hearing any loud noises or seeing anything of a criminal nature.
Very little is known by police about Ringel at this time, according to Skrynecki. He grew up in Woodmere and went to Lawrence High School. He moved to the Midwest in the mid 1980s, where he married. Ringel divorced sometime in 2004 and returned to Long Island in 2009, where he lived in various places.
He has a previous out of state conviction for criminal contempt of court, which is domestic related.
Ringel’s parents are believed to spend winters in Florida, and he may have been living in their home for a few months without their knowledge, police said. Neighbors described him as “troubled.”
Police say he is being cooperative, but has not given any insight into his intentions.