Man arrested in Õismäe has history of possessing explosives

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An operation by Kapo is underway in Õismäe.
An operation by Kapo is underway in Õismäe. Source: Tauno Peit/ERR

A man who was arrested on Wednesday in connection with an Internal Security Service (ISS) operation in Õismäe in Tallinn for possessing explosives, had previously been punished for similar activities, ERR reported on Wednesday. He was taken into custody on Thursday afternoon.

ERR's evening news program Aktuaalne Kaamera (AK) went to the apartment block in Õismäe tee which was evacuated on Tuesday evening and spoke with residents and the owner of the apartment which was under investigation by the ISS.

AK reported that the ISS removed old shells from an apartment on the seventh floor and also from the basement that had been collected by one of the residents.

The apartment was sealed with security police tapes on Wednesday. The man, who AK have named as Urmas, lives in the rented apartment and is in his 40s. AK tried to speak with the apartment owner but he refused to comment. However, he confirmed that the man had rented the apartment for at least 11 years and had made a decent and polite impression.

Urmas has also worked as a police officer. According to long-term resident Marina Zahharova, who lives in the same apartment block, she has never had a problem with Urmas. She said he had an interest in metal detecting.

AK reported that in 2013 Urmas was fined for illegally handling an explosive and was released on probation for three years. During Wednesday's operation, the ISS confiscated many explosives confiscated.

"It can be said that this threat was significant and that it took considerably longer than it was originally planned," said Harrys Puusepp, a spokesman for the Security Police.

"This person has been charged and I can also say that I believe that there is a sufficient risk of continuing criminal activity, so I consider it necessary to apply for arrest by the Harju County Court," said District Attorney Eneli Laurits.

However, Urmas is currently awaiting an investigation to determine exactly which explosive was involved and for what purpose he kept it at his home. Such an offense is punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment.

Residents were evacuated from 36 apartments in a block on Õismäe tee in Tallinn on Tuesday evening while the ISS carried out an operation. They were allowed to return to their homes on Wednesday morning.

More than 2,000 explosives destroyed already this year

Oliver Ventsel, an expert at the Estonian Rescue Board's Demining Center, told ETV's "Ringvaate" that there are many old explosives in Estonia. Many are left over from the Second World War and if one is found it must not be touched and the finder should report it to the center.

Ventsel said all explosives found on the ground, including those from the war, are dangerous because they become more dangerous over time.

This year the center has already destroyed 2,300 explosives.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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