Entries in Bomber (2)


Police Seek Phoenix-Area Flashlight Bomber

Dick Luria/Photodisc/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- Three discarded flashlights-turned-bombs have exploded in the past month in the Phoenix area, injuring five people and prompting police to warn the public about the potential danger of discarded flashlights.

Authorities said they fear that whoever is making the devices will eventually increase the power of the improvised bombs, and someone might die.

Janelle McKee was at a Glendale, Ariz., strip mall on May 13 when she noticed a yellow flashlight sitting by a palm tree.  She picked it up, and when she turned it on, it exploded.

“It sounded like a shotgun, big loud boom,” McKee said, adding, “I definitely won’t be picking anything up off the ground anytime soon.”

A day later, a landscaper found a flashlight in a ditch and he, too, turned it on.  The device injured two people when it exploded.

There was another explosion on May 24 at a Salvation Army distribution center near downtown Phoenix.  Two people were injured.

“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 said.

Authorities believe the alleged bomber has spent time thinking about the devices because the bombs have been placed in an object that people would instinctively turn on.

Authorities say the devices have fairly sophisticated circuitry.  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 (ATF) in Phoenix, said.

“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,” he added.

Authorities have put up 22 billboards in the Phoenix area to warn residents that yellow flashlights could be dangerous and should not be touched.

Police believe the same person is responsible for all three attacks because the three flashlights that exploded had the same design and the chemical explosives.

The recovered flashlight bombs have been sent to a lab for testing.

The ATF is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the flashlight bombs.  Anyone with information is asked to call 1-888-ATF-BOMB (1-888-283-2662).

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gadhafi’s Death: Lockerbie Families React

Libyan Abdel Basset Ali Al-Megrahi (C) escorted by security officers in Tripoli in Libya in a photo dated Feb. 18, 1992. (MANOOCHER DEGHATI/AFP/Getty Images)(NEW YORK) -- Bert Ammerman answered the phone and proclaimed, “It’s a great day. Gadhafi is dead. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Ammerman’s brother, Tom, died at the age of 36 when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988, leaving behind a wife and two daughters.

“I never thought I would live to see the day that Gadhafi would be brought to justice,” Ammerman told ABC News. “It’s the last chapter for me personally. I now can walk away, nearly 24 years later, and be able to say that my brother and 269 other individuals did not die in vain.”

The Boeing 747 was bombed as it traveled from London to New York, and Gadhafi’s regime was implicated in the attack.

“When it’s all said and done, you never get over the fact that your loved one was blown out of the air at 31,000 feet. But satisifed absolutely, there was justice and our system works,” said Ammerman.

For Rosemary Wolfe, who lost her stepdaughter Miriam, a 20-year-old Syracuse University student returning from a semester abroad, there is satisfaction, but there is not justice.

“While we know that he [Gadhafi] was behind it, we don’t know all the others that were involved,” she said. “We want to know the answers to that...and we won’t have truth and justice until we know.”

The only person convicted in the bombing was Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence agent, who spent eight years in prison before he was released in 2009 on humanitarian grounds because he was “near death.” Two years later, Megrahi is still alive and living in Libya.

“We know that there was no way that Megrahi...did it by himself,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe has urged the U.S. government not to release billions of dollars in frozen assets to Libya’s new government until the people who know more about the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 come forward and provide information.

“At this point I’m concerned now that Gadhafi is gone that everyone will just call it a day and we won’t get any further information,” Wolfe told ABC News. “The one thing the U.S. is intent on is establishing a good relationship with Libya and the basis for that should be the rest of the truth.”

Ammerman does not believe the full story of the attack will ever be known.

“The cloud and conspiracy will never go away, and one thing I do know is that Libya was involved and I am 100 percent sure that he [Moammar Gadhafi] ordered this to take place,” Ammerman said. “Megrahi to me is irrelevant. He is the guppy in this process. Gadhaif is the big fish.”

Ammerman said he has always believed that once Gadhafi was removed from power the U.S. should immediately open relations with Libya and assist the Libyan people as they establish a new government.

“I never had a gripe with the population of Libya. I’m a firm believer that citizens throughout the world just want to live a good quality of life,” he said. “They do not support or agree overall with the policies of these maniacs...Today’s enemies are tomorrow’s allies.”

For both Ammerman and Wolfe, Gadhafi’s death may be satisfying, but it will never fill the void in their lives.

“There’s never closure,” Wolfe said. “There really is no such thing as closure because once something like this has happened it changes you and your family forever.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio