Neighbors shocked after Washington man is charged with having bomb-making materials

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WITN) – WITN is continuing to follow the story of a man charged with having materials to make bombs.

45-year-old Joseph Hardison of Washington is charged with possession of a weapon of mass destruction after police found homemade explosives and other explosive chemicals used to make those dangerous items at the man’s former apartment and workplace.

We’re told a tip led to the discovery.

“At that time, we contacted the SBI so they could bring their bomb technicians over because we really didn’t know what we had, and then at that moment, we conducted searches of two locations here in Washington,” said Washington Public Safety Director Stacy Drakeford.

Those locations were on Highland Drive, at Hardison’s former apartment and Park Boat Company, Hardison’s workplace. WITN reached out to Park Boat Company about the discovery by the police.

The owner of the company said, “Mr. Hardison worked with our company from April 2021 to the present. He was an employee in good standing. We are shocked and saddened by the recent developments. Out of respect for the ongoing investigation, we will not make further comments at this time.”

Neighbors told us they were shocked to learn police had found such dangerous materials so close to home.

“I [saw] like three or four cops there. It didn’t dawn on me. I told her about it,” Washington resident William Wainwright said, motioning to Joyce Geddings, who lives with him. “She said, ‘What’s going on down at the boat company?’ I said, I don’t know, there was like two cops down there and two sitting up there, I didn’t know what was going on.”

Geddings was just as surprised, “It makes me feel scared, something like that right there,”

Drakeford was asked if Hardison gave investigators any kind of reasoning for why he’d have the materials. Drakeford said that the man didn’t make any statements about why.

Hardison is being held at the Beaufort County Detention Center under a $25,000 bond.