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Sheriff’s bomb squad reports uptick in threats
by Tribune Staff
Aug 11, 2012 | 1470 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RENO — The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Consolidated Bomb Squad, comprised of law enforcement personnel from throughout the Truckee Meadows, wants to warn the public of the dangers of three types of artificially made bombs: dry ice, acid and alcohol.

Within the past two to three weeks, these types of bombs have been located in several areas throughout Washoe County. These types of bombs are capable of causing minor property damage as well as potentially causing serious bodily harm.

“We haven’t had any (threats) in the last two days,” said Armando Avina, spokesman for the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office. “Tuesday, we repsonded to three different incidents related to residential areas.”

Fortunately, he said, none of the incidents are related to any Hot August Nights events. They mostly occur in mainboxes, on front porches and other residential areas.

“This is not something we want to sugercoat,” Avina said.

Depending upon which agency investigates the bomb or bomb threat, the perpetrateor faces local, state or federal charges.

“We take it very, very serious, adn we want the public to take this very serious,” Avina said.

Some of the bombs could potentially catch areas on fire and create raging wildfires or seriously hurt or even kill someone unintentionally, he said. This year, the area has seen an upswing in the number of bomb threats and bombs in the area, he said.

These bombs can be simply created by using products and/or items stored within any household. Also, the internet will give someone straightforward instructions on how to make bombs within minutes.

“That is what raises concern to all law enforcement officers and is a serious risk to public safety,” said Armando Avina, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.

The reports we are observing are typically related to juvenile delinquency.

“Children in our region may create these types of bombs as a joking matter, simple curiosity, peer pressure, to destroy property, or seek revenge against another person or persons,” Avina said. “Remember that these types of bombs are no laughing matter, dangerous and unlawful.”

In the reports the sheriff’s office is referring to, the perpetrators are basically putting the products inside a plastic bottle, sealing it tightly, and then shaking it to cause the chemical reaction. These chemical reactions are unpredictable. They can explode within seconds or a few minutes.

These particular types of bombs are not designed to start fire, demolition, fragmentation or dispersion bombs. However, these incidents do rise to the level of improvised explosive devices (IED). IED’s are especially dangerous and represent a significant risk to the safety and security of the public.

“If a bomb or otherwise suspicious device is found: do not touch it, do not move it, do not jar it, and do not touch anything attached to it. The disposal of any item suspected of being an explosive must only be done by individuals trained in ordinance disposal,” Avina said.

The Northern Nevada Federal Task Force was the first federal bomb task force in the nation. The 20-member unit consists of law enforcement personnel from Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Reno Police Department, Sparks Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Tahoe/Douglas Fire Protection District, Elko Bomb Squad, Placer County Sheriff’s Office, and the FBI and ATF. There are also seven participating canines. The Task Force is comprised of nine law enforcement agencies, with three pending agencies.
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