Arrest made after stockpile of weapons found in Bethlehem

Authorities were called early Wednesday evening for possible explosive devices inside a Lehigh Valley self-storage facility. However, police found dozens of firearms in the unit and no significant explosives were found.

Police say several rifles and pistols, many with no serial numbers, were found in the 1000 block of Hellertown Road as a bomb squad and ATF units scoured a storage locker at Dreamer's Self-Storage.

They say 23-year-old Matthew Colabella recently rented unit 85-A at the self-storage.

Action News learned Thursday night that Colabella is in custody in Wildwood, NJ.

Police say they spoke with Colabella two days before the search warrants were executed.

According to police paperwork, Cobella denied having any guns, but instead called himself a survivalist and claimed to be stockpiling food and water. What police say they found days later was a stockpile of weapons.

A video from 2016 posted on Matthew Colabella's public Instagram page shows the aftermath of a shot from 50 feet with a 9mm handgun at a gun range.

While most of the 23-year-old's posts are about weightlifting and food - some - like these - are about protecting the right to own guns.

But police say Colabella shouldn't have guns at all.

"We were alerted to the online sale of gun parts to an individual who was legally prohibited from possessing firearms," said Bethlehem Township Police Capt. Gregory Gottschall.

Police say Colabella, who was convicted of arson when he was a juvenile, bought a Glock slide from a seller on eBay. But when Colabella didn't pay, the seller tipped off police who started searching his home and a storage unit.

Suspecting explosives might be inside the unit a bomb squad and the ATF were called in to assist. No explosives were found in the storage unit but about 50 firearms were, and 18 of them didn't have a serial number.

"Various, different rifles, calibers, long guns, handguns," said Gottschall.

Also in the unit, police say they found silencers, bulletproof vests, knives, and drugs.

Matthew Colabella's mother spoke to us briefly outside Colabella's home before his arrest, referring us to the family's attorney and declining to comment on the charges.

Colabella was arrested by authorities without incident in Wildwood New Jersey around 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

We spoke to Colabella's attorney on the phone this evening. He said he didn't want to comment on the charges either but said he is anxious to meet with his client and to bring him back to Pennsylvania so the case can move forward.

Send a News Tip to Action News
Learn More About 6abc Apps
Copyright © 2020 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.