ALLENDALE, Mich. (WOOD) - A man called the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department Wednesday after seeing news reports to admit he is the person launching large homemade rockets in an Allendale neighborhood.
The 26-year-old Allendale Township resident later went to the department and told investigators he had constructed these rockets from plans he obtained through different publications. He said he was not aware that there are regulations that deal with the deployment of these devices, according to a news release.
The man was cooperative with authorities and the case will be sent to the prosecutor's office for review.
Authorities think the rockets were launched in or near the 7500 block of Pierce Street around 7 p.m on June 3 and June 9. Twice, the parachutes have failed to deploy, sending the rockets hurtling toward the ground.
"Our concern is that in these two incidents, the deployment of these rockets was very dangerous," Lt. Mark Bennett of the sheriff's department told 24 Hour News 8.
Wreckage from the two errant rockets has been found embedded several feet into the ground in the past few weeks, the sheriff's department said.
One piece of the rocket is a three-foot chunk of 3-inch PVC pipe. Authorities said the full rocket could have been up to 8 feet long.
"Some of the experts we talked to say some of those rockets can ascend to a few thousand feet and travel a few hundred miles per hour," said Bennett.
A weighty piece of pipe could become a potentially fatal projectile, especially if the parachute packed inside does not open.
"A couple of them came down with a lot of velocity. Thankfully, no one was injured," said Bennett. "So that's our concern, is the public safety issue. When these things come down, they could cause personal injury or possible property damage."
One resident told 24 Hour News 8 her husband witnessed one of the flights. She said they think their neighborhood area is the launch site, but the landing took place nearly a half mile away.
The sheriff's department said there are rocket launches that are legal, but these launchings don't appear to have fit the "controlled and regulated circumstances" for a launch.
Authorities don't think the renegade rocketeer had any criminal motive.
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