April 13, 1997 in City

Explosives Were Easy To Make Teens Used Common Materials In Three Bombs That Damaged Valley Home And Two Cars

Virginia De Leon Staff writer
 

They’re small, steel canisters used for pellet guns.

Known as carbon dioxide cartridges, they cost no more than $2 a piece and are sold everywhere.

Even 8-year-olds can buy them, said Brian Fitzpatrick, an employee at the General Store in Spokane.

While harmless enough for most people, the canisters can be dangerous in the wrong hands.

Last week, at least 10 high school students caused three small explosions that damaged a home and two cars. Investigators believe they used carbon dioxide cartridges attached to detonators to make the explosives.

“It’s so pressurized it could explode and make a huge hole in something,” Fitzpatrick said. “I could see how someone could use it to make a bomb.”

The General Store sells “quite a few,” he said. Most sporting goods stores also carry them.

Information on how to make homemade explosives is easily obtained through the Internet.

The teenagers, aged 16 to 18, were on spring break and had nothing to do, sheriff’s officials said Friday.

Officials have released no details about the teens’ identities or where they go to school.

It’s not every day that youths commit these kinds of crimes, said sheriff’s Deputy David Reagan. “It’s not anything I’ve ever heard of before.”

Their targets appeared to have been chosen at random. No one was injured by the three explosions.

One bomb blasted a 4-inch hole into a window of a Valley home. Another damaged a dump truck.

The first bomb, which exploded a week ago, caused $1,800 worth of damage to a company-owned car driven by James Shelton.

“(The bomb) was loud enough that it scared the hell out of me,” Shelton said. “I don’t know why they picked our house.”

The explosive shattered the Ford Taurus’ windshield.

The teens who allegedly committed the bombings will be charged with arson, failing to report a violent crime and other counts, police said.

, DataTimes


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