Deputies hunt for source of Geauga County explosions rattling residents

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CHARDON, Ohio (WJW)– In recent weeks, Geauga County residents have reported a series of explosions outside of Chardon, in Hambden Township and Claridon Township.

When asked by a 911 dispatcher if he knew which direction one of the blasts came from, one resident replied, “This one was so big, I don’t know, I couldn’t tell.”

The Geauga County Sheriff said the explosions, in the area of Sisson Road and state Route 608, have homeowners on edge.

“The fact that they’re afraid that somebody is going to get hurt. Some of the explosions are big enough that it’s shaking the windows in their houses,” said Sheriff Scott Hildenbrand.

Some residents said they believe the explosions may be the result of someone shooting Tannerite targets, a brand of explosive targets used for firearms practice. But the sheriff said witnesses have not heard any gunshots before the explosions.

“We don’t know if it’s a quarter stick of dynamite, we don’t know if it’s an acetylene bomb, we really don’t know what it is,” Hildenbrand said.

Investigators said it appears many of the explosions are coming from inside the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Hambden Orchard Wildlife Area, which is popular for hunting and fishing. The sheriff sayid his office has placed a high priority on identifying those responsible.

“We’ve had several undercover cars out there in the area. Some of the explosions have gone off when the undercover people are there and they still cannot see or tell where those explosions are coming from,” he said.

Authorities are concerned that if the explosions continue, someone is going to get hurt.

“Whoever is doing it, please stop. You’re upsetting the neighborhood, you’re upsetting a large area of the community. It’s taking a lot of resources for us to try to determine where this is happening and who’s doing it,” Hildenbrand said.

The sheriff said a prior series of explosions in Geauga County suddenly ended after his deputies stepped up their patrols and set up undercover surveillance in the surrounding neighborhood.

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