JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey man accused of taking components of an explosive device on a train said he was making homemade fireworks and never intended to harm anyone.
Mykyta Panasenko said Friday that he was stunned at seeing his name in news reports from the U.S. to Europe implying he was somehow connected to the Boston Marathon bombings.
Authorities insist he had no connection and his arrest preceded the Boston bombings.
Several media outlets reported his arrest and charges in a way that insinuated he had a sinister motive, or was connected to the bombings in Boston, Panasenko said.
"Because of misinformation, I now have to explain to everyone that I have no links to terrorism, which is pretty ridiculous," Panasenko said.
The 27-year-old Jersey City resident acknowledges taking explosive materials on a train April 7 to set off fireworks in the woods in Suffern, north of New York City. He said a roommate saw some of the firework components in their New Jersey apartment and contacted police.
"I decided, in a pretty foolish idea, to experiment with gunpowder and make little firework type things," Panasenko said. "I decided to take them to the woods somewhere where no one lives, and watch them explode, for fun — for lack of a better word. Of course this was a bad decision, I do admit that," he added.
Police and FBI agents searched his apartment, according to Panasenko, who said he told them everything he had done, including taking the train to Suffern. He was arrested a week after the search, on April 15, the day of the Boston bombings.
Prosecutors declined Friday to say what was found in Panasenko's apartment. Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Gene Rubino said Panasenko faces serious charges, including creating a risk of widespread injury or damage, but he would not have been released without bail if anyone in law enforcement thought he posed a threat to the public.