[UPDATED with More Arrests, Lesser Charges:] Acid Dry-Ice Bombs Blast South County

Categories: Crime-iny
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Melugin
UPDATE, JUNE 29, 10:58 A.M.: Sheriff's investigators have made two more arrests in what were first described as two separate "acid bomb" attacks in Laguna Hills and Mission Viejo. Deputies now claim there were six South County bombings last Thursday night, but the homemade devices relied not on acid but dry-ice. Four teens are believed to have learned how to make the bombs via the Internet.

They include Robert Jacob Browne, 19, of Trabuco Canyon, and former Mission Viejo High School football star Mitchell Gary Melugin, 18.

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Browne
The pair was originally charged with felony possession of an explosive device with the intent to terrify or injure, but it was later knocked down to misdemeanor throwing a substance at a vehicle.

Likewise, bail for Melugin and Browne, who both pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanors at arraignment Tuesday, had their bails reduced from $1 million to $15,000 and $25,000 respectively. Melugin paid his bond and is now out of custody. It's unclear why Browne's bail is higher or whether he remains locked up.

Two other teens have also been arrested, but the sheriff's department has not identified them because they are under 18.

Despite the less-serious charges, sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino essentially told KABC's Eyewitness News not to mess with dry-ice bombs lest you put your eye out. 

"You have exploding particles of plastic and dry ice--we should take this as a warning to anybody else," Amormino reportedly said. "It's not a prank. It's a very dangerous thing to do."

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MySpace
Mitch Melugin
UPDATE, JUNE 27, 4:20 P.M.: Two young men are being held in lieu of $1 million bail each for last Thursday night's "acid bomb" attacks in Laguna Hills and Mission Viejo.

One suspect was voted one of the best high school football players in Orange County last year and had signed on to play this coming season at North Arizona University.

He's 18-year-old Mitch Melugin, a 2011 Mission Viejo High School graduate who played tight end and defensive end for the Diablos. The Orange County Register included Melugin among "O.C.'s Hot 100" in 2010, a list of the county's top high school players.

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MySpace
Melugin the Diablo
Melugin allegedly drove the dark-colored SUV from which acid bombs--chemicals poured in a plastic water bottle that explodes on impact--were tossed on pedestrians just after 11 p.m. Thursday in Laguna Hills and about 20 minutes later into a car in Mission Viejo.

No one was hospitalized, but the car's driver experienced ringing in his ears after picking up the bottle as it exploded.

The driver got the license plate that led to the arrest of Melugin. Robert Jacob Brown, 19, later turned himself in. Both are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday on charges of possession of an explosive device with the intent to terrify or injure.

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17 comments
matt gordon
matt gordon

All their charges should be felonies. They planned their "fun", they threw multiple projectiles from a moving vehicle and all four should be charged as adults. The bottles popping look harmless on youTube videos, sure, but if one were to come sailing inside your car window unexpectedly, then you would see the incident with less humor. Not pranks, they are bullies and deserve serious punishment or they will escalate their crimes to more serious damage and possible loss of lives.

Lpmartinez
Lpmartinez

If these guys had been anything but white south county kids they would of gotten more serious charges againts them.

Jerraneverdies
Jerraneverdies

Deport these 2 illegal immigrants!!!! good thing he's going to Arizona.

cook
cook

Who can say that American youth do not know their science chemistry.

In the next few days, running up to the 4th of July many of Orange County youths will be practicing applied science by putting dry-ice into empty soda containers.

Makes for a loud bang and a busted plastic bottle.

Matt Rackham
Matt Rackham

So where did "acid bombs" come from if these were in fact dry ice "bombs"? Does it just sound more badass? The sheriffs trying to hype the incident?

But I do remember making what could be considered an "acid bomb" as a kid by putting vinegar and baking soda into a bottle. Still just CO2 pressure popping the bottle.

Seems like kids screwing around and authorities trying to sound all tough on crime. I guess the flaming tennis-ball cannons we used to make wouldn't go over so well now.

And "youknowthismaaaaaan!": WTF is "street terrorism"? Not a crime listed in any law that I'm aware of. Is it more or less serious than cul-de-sac terrorism?

Howard be my name
Howard be my name

High school football stars making acid bombs and young beauty queens who don't believe in evolution. O brave new world! That has such people in it!

Ego
Ego

they learned how to make them through the internet? how funny and sad!i used to make those  with my bros when i was 10! and we got the dry ice from the paleteros . ofcourse we'd just blowem up on our street and wouldnt cause any trouble .. hmm good times

Meatheadz
Meatheadz

Maybe he can blame all the brain trauma caused by playing football. BTW, one of the top football players in OC and he's going to play at Northern Arizona U? Either the talent pool here is at a low or his talents were a bit overrated.

Gerard
Gerard

Sadly, these knuckleheads will have to live with their few minutes of "pranks" for a lifetime. Especially Melugin who had a full ride scholarship at NAU. We've all done things when we were young and regret now, at least I did. How I survived my teen years I'll never know...

youknowthismaaaaaan!
youknowthismaaaaaan!

They should be charged with street terrorism...kind of screams the definition of street terrorism to me. 

Newportblue65
Newportblue65

Put these punks in jail and see if they think it's funny then!......

Guest
Guest

You are right, because if they were Mexican and from SanTana they would most likely be facing deportation for being illegal immigrants.

Bill T.
Bill T.

Yah, I'm going to click on a link to a Turkish domain. This guy needs to be blocked, posts just so he can advertise his apparent internet (phishing?) business. If he wants to use the OCW resources to advertise he needs to go through the front door like the legitimate advertisers.

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