Warning to drivers passing through Arizona: Authorities are warning those in the Phoenix area to not pick-up discarded flashlights. Last month, three flashlight bombs were detonated, injuring five people.
On May 13, 2012, Janelle McKee was visiting a Glendale, Arizona strip mall, when she noticed a yellow flashlight sitting by a palm tree. She picked it up, turned it on and it exploded.
The second explosion occurred on May 14, 2012, when a landscaper noticed a discarded yellow flashlight in a ditch. He clicked it on, causing an explosion. Two people were injured.
The most recent yellow flashlight explosion occurred on May 24, 2012, at a Salvation Army distribution center near downtown Phoenix. Two people were injured in the explosion.
We often get very strange things that are donated, but we never get things that are donated with the purpose to do harm, the Salvation Army’s Capt. John Desplancke told ABC News.[pullquote align=”right”]We do not want an innocent child or victim to pick one of these flashlights up and get injured or killed, so we take this very seriously, Atteberry added.[/pullquote]
Police believe the same person is behind all three bombs. Authorities have said the bombs are fairly sophisticated in their design. The device is triggered when the flashlight is turned on, and the battery emits an electrical charge that ignites an explosive.
Are we concerned that since there has been more than one? Absolutely, we’re concerned, Tom Atteberry, special agent in charge at the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix, told ABC News.
We do not want an innocent child or victim to pick one of these flashlights up and get injured or killed, so we take this very seriously, Atteberry added.
Twenty-two billboards have been put- up throughout the Phoenix area to warn residents not to pick-up discarded flashlights.
The ATF is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the construction of the flashlight bombs. If you have any information about the crime, you are urged to contact the ATF at 1-888-ATF-BOMB or 1-888-283-2662.