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Probation ordered for man in apartment blast

– A man who caused an explosion in his northeast-side apartment complex in January 2012 was given a suspended prison sentence Thursday in Allen Superior Court.

Robert V. Erb, 44, of the 3800 block of Leesburg Road was originally charged with possession of a destructive device, two counts of neglect of a dependent and two counts of possession of child pornography.

In February, Erb pleaded guilty to the neglect charges, as well as one count of possession of child pornography.

On Thursday, Allen Superior Court Judge John Surbeck sentenced Erb to four years in prison but ordered the sentence suspended and to be served on probation.

Erb was charged in July after an investigation into the Jan. 29, 2012, explosion at his apartment in the River Cove public housing complex near North Clinton Street and Auburn Road. Two children in the apartment suffered injuries when Erb was chipping away with a chisel at a substance he had made. One child suffered hearing loss. The other had cuts to his face, neck and arms, according to court documents.

Police found other bomb-making materials and five pipe bombs inside the apartment, according to court documents.

They also found over 500 images of child pornography on Erb’s personal computer.