Destructive package bomb incidents rare, but often end in arrest


Highlights

The number of suspicious packages investigated in 2016 was 969, down from 1,739 in 2015.

The number of deaths associated with domestic bombings has fallen from 74 in 2012 to just seven in 2016.

Package bombings that result in death or injury are rare across the country, but — especially recently — nearly always lead to the arrest of a suspect.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ latest Explosives Incident Report, the number of suspicious packages investigated in 2016 was 969, down from 1,739 in 2015. The vast majority of those didn’t result in death or injury. The number of deaths associated with domestic bombings has been falling, according to the ATF, from 74 in 2012 to just seven in 2016.

Before the rash of deadly package bombs hit Austin this month, at least four package or mail bomb incidents that killed or injured victims were reported across the country in the past 18 months. In all but one case — a 2016 package bomb in Philadelphia — authorities have arrested suspects.

These are the high-profile package bomb incidents since 2016:

East Palo Alto, Calif: In December 2017, Oakland resident Ross Gordon Laverty, 56, was charged with mailing a package bomb, made of batteries, copper pipe and fishing line, to a home in East Palo Alto in October that injured a man who opened it. Laverty is also suspected of mailing another bomb to a home in Alameda, Calif., through the United States Postal Service that injured a woman. Laverty was arrested after authorities matched his DNA to material found on a battery in one of the bombs. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

East Chicago, Ind.: In October 2017, Eric Krieg, 45, of northwestern Indiana was arrested and charged with mailing a pipe bomb that exploded and injured a post office employee on Sept. 6, 2017, before it could reach its intended target, a lawyer. Krieg, a petroleum engineer who ran two failed political campaigns and frequently sparred with local elected officials, is suspected of mailing another suspicious package on Sept. 29.

Queens, N.Y.: In August 2017, a landlord died four days after suffering severe burns when he opened a package left on the steps of one of his properties. Police initially said the package, a foot-long cardboard tube filled with flash powder, was meant for a gang member who lived in the home. In February, police arrested Victor Kingsley, 37, in connection with the explosion, saying Kingsley was actually targeting a police officer who he thought lived in the duplex and who had arrested Kingsley in 2014.

Philadelphia: In November 2016, a Philadelphia man lost parts of his fingers and was hit by shrapnel when a package bomb exploded at his home. Security cameras caught the suspect carrying the bomb in a shoulder bag to Jim Alden’s home and dropping it off. But as of November, police hadn’t made an arrest in the case, according to local media.

Fort Worth: In November, Julia Poff, 46, was indicted on charges of mailing homemade bombs to Gov. Greg Abbott and then-President Barack Obama in 2016. The package sent to Abbott, which didn’t explode when he opened it, contained a cellphone, a cigarette packet connected to a fuse, powder and a salad dressing cap. A package meant for the former president was detected during the screening process, and a cat hair found under the address label allowed FBI agents to connect her to the case.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Democratic governor candidate Lupe Valdez pays overdue property taxes
Democratic governor candidate Lupe Valdez pays overdue property taxes

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lupe Valdez has finished paying nearly $22,000 in back property taxes for 2017, ahead of the July 1 deadline when they would have been listed as delinquent and subject to collection. According to Dallas and Ellis County tax records, the former Dallas County sheriff has paid $21,758 in 2017 taxes that were due on Jan...
UPDATE: Firefighters extinguish blaze just west of Leander
UPDATE: Firefighters extinguish blaze just west of Leander

5:45 p.m. update: A large brush fire in Western Travis County has been extinguished, the Austin Fire Department reported. Although several structures were threatened by the flames, no structures were lost. The fire department reported that an “extensive mop up” is in progress in the area along the 22800 block of Nameless Road, just west...
Affidavit: Man arrested after allegedly hitting officer over the head
Affidavit: Man arrested after allegedly hitting officer over the head

A man faces a second degree felony charge after he struck a police officer on the side of the head and attempted to put the officer in a choke hold just before 9 p.m. Saturday, an arrest affidavit says. Austin police responded to the home in Southeast Austin for a possible criminal trespass. The property manager, who called police, said the home was...
DWI suspect dragged Austin police officer with car, report says
DWI suspect dragged Austin police officer with car, report says

A man is facing a first degree felony charge after he dragged a police officer 20 feet with his vehicle as he tried to drive away from a traffic stop in Southeast Austin early Sunday, a police report says. Hansel Zaragoza, 22, was charged with aggravated assault on a public servant. Austin Police pulled Zaragoza over shortly before 4 a.m. Sunday morning...
Saudi air defenses intercept 2 missiles from Yemen, state media says
Saudi air defenses intercept 2 missiles from Yemen, state media says

Saudi Arabia’s state-run television station said Sunday that the country’s air defense intercepted two ballistic missiles launched over Riyadh, Reuters reported. >> Read more trending news The attack, which the station alleged was  launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia, is at least the sixth to target Riyadh since December...
More Stories