Man overdosing on scanner found with pipe bombs

GROTON — A man who police say had two knives, a hatchet and two pipe bombs on him when he fell backwards in a liquor store on Thursday appeared to have overdosed on illegal drugs, according to a report by ‘arrest.

Benjamin Dahm, 32, who lived at the Ramada Inn in Groton, was arrested for making bombs, reckless endangerment and weapons after the incident, in which no one was injured. A Connecticut State Police bomb squad confirmed that two clogged metal pipes were “legitimate improvised explosive devices” – or pipe bombs, according to the report. Bomb techs safely disabled the devices.

Police said there was no indication Dahm was targeting anyone. New London Naval Submarine Base is about 3 miles from the liquor store where he was found.

Appearing in New London State Superior Court on Friday, Judge Ernest Green ordered a sanity check for Dahm and set his bail at $750,000.

The bail commissioner told the judge that Dahm used drugs and drank alcohol every day. She ticked off the long list of charges he was arrested on: He has 10 state court convictions on his record and roughly the same number of pending cases, though none appear to involve violence. .

Jennifer Rowe, Dahm’s public defender, noted this, saying, “It’s not in his MO.” She asked for $200,000 bail “due to the disparity of charges.”

Rowe said his client found the backpack with the pipe bombs in an abandoned shopping cart and there was no evidence in his hotel room that he had made any bombs.

The only thing linking him to possession of a bomb is a plastic bag police found on the hotel room floor, she said. The arrest report says police found a reusable plastic grocery bag in the room identical to the one that contained the explosives.

According to the report, Groton police were called to Star Discount Liquors, 518 Gold Star Highway, around 5:15 p.m. Thursday for an overdose. Police and paramedics encountered a lethargic and “verbally unresponsive” man whom they later identified as Dahm. He appears to have overdosed on heroin or fentanyl, according to the report.

Dahm was given naloxone in the ambulance and became responsive, according to the report. He refused to go to the hospital, the report said.

Police and a paramedic gathered his belongings and found items in his black backpack including a knife with a 4.5 inch long blade; a small knife; an axe; pepper spray and several metal pipes, including two that were clogged and fused, the report said.

When the investigator saw the last two pipes, he immediately believed them to be bombs and led them across the street to a vacant lot in case they exploded and Dahm would be arrested.

He was charged with two counts of unlawfully making bombs, unlawfully possessing explosives and carrying a dangerous weapon. He was also charged with first-degree reckless endangerment and breach of the peace.

Dahm’s convictions include burglary, theft, criminal trespass and possession of narcotics, according to court records. He is listed as having 12 pending cases, one of which stems from a September 2021 incident in which Dahm allegedly broke into a house in Old Lyme, claimed it was his and stayed there until until she is arrested by the police.

A person close to his family said on Friday that they had been trying for years to help him with his mental health issues.

“He’s not violent,” said the woman, who did not want to be identified.

Writers Peter Yankowski and Ben Lambert contributed to this story.

Christine Dempsey can be reached at [email protected]

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