Federal agents arrested 36-year-old David Perez on Thursday in connection with a string of Philadelphia area ATM explosions. Over 161 ATM explosions have taken place across Philadelphia and surrounding communities since June 1, 2020.
Perez was arrested after he sold an undercover ATF agent a cardboard box filled with 50 red tubes with fuses containing an explosive powder for $250. He was taken into custody the next day and will remain in federal custody. The arrest took place just blocks from a tiny North Philadelphia home where Perez lived with his mother and 85-year-old grandmother.
It was at that location that federal agents found what was described to Fox 29 as an “explosives lab.”
Agents found hundreds of M1000 explosive devices inside the home, as well as significant amounts of explosive material to make more. The house was located across the street from an elementary school, prompting agents to wait until Thursday evening to enter. According to Steve Keeley of Fox 29, officials feared that an “entire city block could blow up.”
Perez’s grandmother, who was home during the ATF raid, told reporters that she was completely unaware of her grandson’s dealings.
The criminal complaint does not directly mention Perez as a suspect in any of the actual ATM blasts. Perez has spent time in prison for burglary and firearms possession in the past, investigators said. Due to his prior convictions, he is not permitted to handle explosives.