Haverhill Man Allegedly Built ‘Pipe Bomb’ that Placed Neighbors at Risk up to 300 Yards Away

David Farnsworth, from Haverhill Police booking photograph.

A 63-year-old Haverhill man, accused of making a potent “pipe bomb” with the intent to injure and making terroristic threats, was ordered held for mental evaluation at his court arraignment Monday following a scare Friday at his Rosebud Avenue home.

David Farnsworth of 5 Rosebud Ave., allegedly constructed and hid, the “pipe bomb” in his backyard. Concerns resulted in police evacuating all surrounding neighbors, including the densely populated Churchill Courts apartment complex, for six hours. Farnsworth appeared before Haverhill District Court Judge Susan H. McNeil. He also faces charges of carrying a firearm and loaded firearm without a license and disturbing the peace.

According to court documents, police were initially alerted by telephone Friday morning by a relative who said Farnsworth claimed that morning to have been “building a bomb to kill himself and others.” Farnsworth, who is also reportedly battling a serious illness and suffers from depression, first told another family member the bomb is outside and “ready to be activated and could go off with very minimal movement.” The relative told police the device might be under a blue tarp—later confirmed—and that Farnsworth had been seen with two propane tanks in the past. The man ultimately left to go to his job as a commercial driver for a Haverhill manufacturer.

Meanwhile, according to a police report, the State Police Bomb Squad determined the explosive device in the backyard “was a functioning device” and that nearby homes “would have been impacted by any explosion” up to 300 yards away. The bomb was described as standing three-feet tall and was built using two brake rotors, propane tank, fire extinguisher, gun powder, concrete, a chain and an orange utility bucket. All roads in the area were later closed for State Police-supervised detonations. Remaining materials found after a search were taken to the Haverhill Public Works garage for what was described as “a controlled burn.”

Police reported they went to the man’s employer and learned he was on his way to South Easton to make a work-related delivery. As WHAV reported Friday, State Police took Farnsworth into custody on Interstate 495. He was initially taken to Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro and charges were filed over the weekend.

Police said Farnsworth’s license to carry firearms expired in 2018 and he was known to have a 9 mm handgun as well as a .22 caliber rifle. A court warrant, used just before 5, Friday afternoon, resulted in a search of the shed, home and pickup truck revealed firearms, ammunition, a bow and arrows and the guns, among other items.

Farnsworth is expected to return to Haverhill District Court July 19.

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