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Homemade explosives pose significant danger to residents

Date: 8/1/2011

Aug. 1, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM — The Wilbraham Police Department is asking residents to be on the lookout for homemade explosives that have been placed in mailboxes in town recently.

According to a release from the department, since July 15, two separate incidents during which unidentified perpetrators placed explosive materials in mailboxes have occurred.

The explosives in question are soda bottles containing a substance that may explode through a chemical reaction.

“We don’t know exactly what the chemical is, but it’s a caustic substance that will react to metal and create a gas,” Wilbraham Police Chief Allen Stratton said. “Whoever is responsible takes compounds that normally are inert and puts them together to create a chemical reaction.”

Stratton further explained that the reaction can happen immediately, but can also take up to 10 minutes to occur, making the makeshift explosives very unpredictable.

“It’s dangerous for the makers and dangerous for anyone who comes across them,” he said.

Stratton would not say if the department had any leads as to who was responsible for the recent incidences involving these explosives, but he has his hunches.

“I wouldn’t directly speculate on who is doing this, but it certainly appears to be pranks and vandalism,” Stratton said. “But that doesn’t make this any less dangerous.”

The Police Department urges that residents who see any suspicious object fitting the description of these explosives to call 911 and not to touch the object as the chemicals may react to movement and explode.

Also, anyone with any information regarding the persons involved in these incidents is encouraged to notify the Wilbraham Police Department at 596-3838.

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