Police investigate string of bottle bombs

April 8, 2008 3:51:46 PM PDT
They're often called bottle bombs, or mailbox bombs, and they can cause a lot of damage, not to mention serious injury. In the last month and a half, residents in four communities - Warminster and Doylestown in Bucks County, and Upper Moreland and Horsham in Montgomery County - have been victimized by the explosions. Kids have always been fascinated by things that go "bang." But, local police are now worried that the latest backyard explosive is getting out of hand and bound to do some real damage.

Many Internet sites have posted demonstrations that give kids simple instructions on how to make the bombs. It's not rocket science.

Det. Bob Waeltz of Horsham Township Police tells us, "They're household products you can find in any household in America."

Last weekend one of the bombs was planted in a mailbox in Horsham Township. It exploded as a woman walked past. Police say she was shaken up, but luckily unharmed.

Shards of aluminum foil, one of the ingredients, still litter the ground by the mailbox. Police in Bucks and Montgomery County have seen a rash of explosions in mailboxes.

One in Warminster blew up in the face of a bomb squad officer. Luckily, he was wearing protective gear.

Dianne Lamplegh is a neighbor. "People can be hurt. Could be seriously to their eyes or their face, or it could be me or it could be my daughter opening up the mailbox."

One of the ingredients is a corrosive chemical that can burn the skin or cause serious eye damage. Police are worried that some kids are getting more sophisticated and creative with the bombs, packing them with shrapnel.

Det. Waeltz says, "We are concerned that there are other things we're going to find in them. We have not found that yet, but I have heard that kids will put nails or glass or things like that, that will really do some damage."

Police are warning residents to get away quickly if you find a bottle in your mailbox. And they are warning parents to be on the lookout for signs of trouble like missing aluminum foil and cleaning supplies.

So far, no one has been hurt.