Explosives rigged to destroy mailboxes



April 19, 2013 - 12:00 AM

Two mailboxes near homes five miles northeast of LaHarpe were destroyed early Thursday morning by crude bombs that exploded inside each.
Allen County Sheriff Bryan Murphy said that while the explosions were thought to be the work of vandals, he had contacted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the federal agency that investigates such things, as well as postal authorities.
“Acts such as these can’t be tolerated,” he said. “If a mail carrier or the owner had been near either one when they exploded, there very likely would have been injuries.”
Injuries could have been severe, particularly with the plastic box, said Deputy Daren Kellerman, who did on-scene investigations of the incidents.
“It was shattered and if you’d been nearby you’d have had shredded plastic penetrating all over your body,” Kellerman said.
The other box, made of metal, was ripped loose and thrown about 30 feet by the explosion.
The explosions appeared to be caused by drain cleaner bundled with crumpled aluminum foil. Chemicals in many drain cleaners create heat and hydrogen when they react with aluminum; the liquid would burn flesh if splashed on a person.
Murphy said his officers have developed several leads in the case, including a description of a vehicle that was seen in the area when the explosions occurred.
Anyone having information about the incidents is encouraged to contact the sheriff’s office, 365-1400, or the dispatch center at 911.

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