Center City letter bomb victim speaks exclusively to Action News

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The target of a Center City bomb attack nearly two months ago is telling his story only to Action News. (WPVI)

The target of a Center City bomb attack nearly two months ago is telling his story only to Action News.

"It's amazing that I didn't lose my entire hand," said Jim Alden. "Unbelievable."

Jim Alden's left hand is permanently disfigured.

"I don't know how it happened to concentrate on just the two middle fingers," said Alden. "I still have my pinkie, my index and my thumb."

The blast happened in the early morning hours of Nov. 22. Alden had just returned from New York. A yellow manila package was on the counter. He thought it was his asthma inhalers. He took it to the stove, where there is more light, and opened it.

"There was this bright light, boom, whatever," said Alden.

Stunned, his ears rang, the smell of sulfur and smoke filled his kitchen. Alden says he didn't even realize his hand had been blown apart - he was in shock. He ran downstairs to his partner, who called 911.

"The blast of it, just the power of it, shattered the glass of the window," said Alden.

Doctors would talk of amputation in the ER. Fear set in. His upper torso and face were pocked with shrapnel. Doctors told him those would eventually be repelled by his body.

"Last night, we were just watching TV, and its like, 'Oh, here's a pebble out of my face,' " said Alden.

Investigators say Alden was targeted and they are looking for a person of interest.

Investigators looked at surveillance cameras block by block, and captured the person walking from 3rd and Spring Garden all the way to 18th and Pine, dropping off the package, then walking back to Northern Liberties.

And he may have had accomplices, but motive is unclear.

"The person who put this device together had, what I would consider, some level of sophistication, and knew what they were doing," said Sam Rabadi, ATF.

Special Agent Sam Rabadi runs the Philadelphia Office of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, which is investigating with Philadelphia police and other agencies. He believes the person of interest remains in our area, and is pleading with the public to look at the photos above and come forward.

"The coat had a tear on the sleeve, the type of hat, the jeans that the person was wearing with the white sneakers," said Rabadi.

Alden still has nerve pain in his thumb and extensive rehabilitation ahead of him. The bartender is left handed and unable to work.

But despite it all, he's able to laugh and doesn't live in fear - his disfigurement is a constant reminder of the attack.

"I'm at a point where I have to look at it and say that's what's left. When it's in cast you don't have to think about it, its just in a cast. When the cast comes off... my new reality," said Alden.

The ATF is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. There's a benefit for Alden at Dilworth Park next Monday from 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door.
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philadelphia newsbombingCenter City Philadelphia
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