Police have arrested a man who is accused of setting off “bottle bombs,” a mixture of vinegar, baking soda and other substances in bottles, at three movie theaters. One of the alleged incidents took place in Maryland, while two others were in areas close by. According to reports, the 20-year-old man most recently placed one of the bottles in a Maryland movie theater on May 24. The theater was evacuated after the explosion.
The other incidents took place as early as the beginning of April, when the first of the bottles exploded in a theater in Alexandria, Virginia. Two other explosions took place in a multiplex on May 18, and a third incident took place at the same multiplex a week later.
The 20-year-old was arrested at his house in Maryland on May 31, and his house was searched by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and several other law enforcement agencies. He has been officially charged with one felony count of manufacture, possession and detonation with a destructive device for the May 24 explosion, and it was unclear if further charges would be coming from the other incidents. According to reports, the man has a prior record that includes malicious destruction of property, and he is now facing up to 25 years in prison for the current felony charge.
A vinegar and baking soda combination is not inherently harmful as is normally associated with explosive devices, but the sound of the explosion could cause the moviegoers to panic, resulting in injuries. The bottle could cause injuries to anyone in the immediate vicinity when it detonates.
While some may see this as a harmless prank, these types of crimes are often aggressively prosecuted, and the man’s prior record may work against him in a trial. It is crucial that defendants charged with these types of crimes understand the seriousness of the charges and do everything they can to ensure they put forth the best defense possible.
Source: CBS Baltimore, “Man Arrested For Largo Movie Theater Bottle Bomb May Be Behind Others” No author given, Jun. 01, 2014