Man arrested for making, setting off explosive device in quiet Morrow neighborhood

Joseph Borlie, Jr. (Morrow Police Department)

A Clayton County man was arrested on accusations that he made and detonated an explosive device in his Morrow neighborhood on Monday afternoon.

Joseph Borlie, Jr., 57, was charged with manufacturing an explosive device and reckless conduct.

"What was found here was device that was built by the suspect, we allege," said Morrow Police Major Mark Woodall.

Morrow police says around 3:30 p.m. officers were called out to Burbank Trail. Police said officers "observed a powdery substance and remnants of a plastic container in the roadway."

A witness told officers he saw his neighbor light the device that exploded, sending small particles of marble and/or tile fragments in every direction. Police says the blast radius was about 65-feet. 

"Obviously, it's concerning when you have an explosion in a quiet neighborhood for no apparent reason," said Major Woodall. "Normally, you suspect a transformer or a residential inline, a power line, those will tend to unravel and explode. That was not what was found here."

Morrow police investigate a possible explosive device detonated along Burbank Trail on Dec. 12, 2022.

Morrow police investigate a possible explosive device detonated along Burbank Trail on Dec. 12, 2022. (Morrow Police Department)

A photo shared by the Morrow Police Department on Facebook shows a white powdery substance scattered across the roadway. Major Woodall says the device was detonated on top of the storm drain across the street from the suspect's home.

Officers found out the blast could be heard about eight to ten houses away, rattling windows and causing items to fall from shelves and fireplace mantles.

"We received multiple calls from up to ten homes away, I'm told, who stated their homes shook on foundation violently," the major said.

After getting a search warrant, officers entered Borlie’s home. Inside, police says they found "a large amount of marijuana and additional potential bomb-making materials." Major Woodall says a suspected improvised explosive device was located and removed.

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Morrow police say they found potential bomb-making material at a home on Dec. 12, 2022. (Morrow Police Department)

Police called in the Clayton County Police Department Bomb Squad to assist. The team spent the evening combing through the home, testing substances, and setting up an X-ray machine to assist in the investigation.

The squad will take the devices and safely detonate them at the county range.

Major Woodall says there is no further danger to those in the area.

"This appears to be isolated and someone just experimenting," he said.

Borlie was booked into the Clayton County Jail. Additional charges are possible once the case is turned over the district attorney's office.