Two soda-bottle bombs set off at Harford store

CRIME WATCH

December 02, 2006|By Mary Gail Hare

A second soda-bottle bombing within four days in Harford County has caused $500 damage at a grocery store in Cardiff, authorities said yesterday.

The most recent incident occurred Thursday at Klein's Supermarket on Dooley Road, when two devices were detonated at 7:30 p.m., authorities said. Five customers and 25 Klein's employees in the store were not injured when one device exploded in the soft drink aisle and a second went off in a trash can on the sidewalk near the entrance.

"These are chemical bombs, destructive devices constructed in a plastic soda bottle," said W. Faron Taylor, deputy state fire marshal. "A violent reaction occurs and builds to an explosion. The chemical contents, which are strong caustics, continue to explode. In this case, merchandise was sprayed with caustics, but there is a strong potential for personal injuries."

The chemical bomb seemed to be a copy of a soda- bottle blast Sunday night in Edgewood, but investigators have evidence that shows the incidents are unrelated, Taylor said.

The Klein's store was evacuated Thursday while the Whiteford Fire Company and the county's Hazardous Materials Team secured the scene, authorities said. Police are looking for a teen-age male and female for questioning.

Also Thursday, police charged a 16-year-old Edgewood youth with the bottle bombing Sunday evening at a Mars store on Pulaski Highway. Police are searching for three other suspects in the blast that was set off at the front of the grocery.

The store was not damaged.

Building a destructive device is a felony that carries a possible 25-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.

"These devices can be as dangerous and unpredictable as a pipe bomb," Taylor said. "This is yet another reason for parents to monitor children's Internet use or interest in household chemicals. This goes way beyond natural curiosity or fascination with chemistry."

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