SOUTH BEND — Five explosive devices have been found in three bordering counties in a span of just seven days.
It’s a troubling trend for law enforcement and the community at large.
The most recent discovery came in Mishawaka’s Grape Road commercial corridor where two devices were removed by the bomb squad from South Bend.
“According to our bomb squad commander, they were real, they potentially could have caused harm had they exploded,” said South Bend Police Department spokesman Ken Garcia. “I know a lot of people ask, ‘What kind of damage could these do?’ and they’re designed to cause damage, big damage or catastrophic damage, so when it comes to humans, severe injuries to death.”
NewsCenter 16 has confirmed that all five of the explosive devices discovered in a seven day period were all ‘real.’
“It wasn’t like it was an inert tube that was made to look like an explosive device, it was something that contained powder and would do damage,” said Sgt. Ted Bohner of the Indiana State Police—the department that investigated the first two devices that turned up in Marshall County.
When a picture of the first explosive device was shown to shown to Garcia, he said it was similar to the two devices that turned up in Mishawaka. “The way it was described to me, it looked like it was wrapped in some kind of tape, much like I saw the picture that you sent me.”
“The big question is, ‘Are they related?’ and I don’t fully know the answer to that,” added Sgt. Bohner. “That’s going to be something that the investigators are working the individual cases will have to make that determination. I don’t want to assume anything, but at the same time it seems like a lot of devices in a relatively small geographical area, in a relatively few number of days.”
When asked if he thought the devices were made by an amateur or professional, Garcia said without pause, “Oh, amateur is the way it was described to me.”
The first three devices were found in or near mailboxes in remote rural sections of Marshall and Elkhart counties on Monday the 22nd. In sharp contrast, devices 4 and 5 turned up in the heavily traveled Grape Road corridor of Mishawaka, where the odds of someone seeing some of the suspicious activity had to be greatly increased.
“The public plays a very important role in getting to the bottom of these cases, because somebody out there knows something,” said Sgt. Bohner. “They may have to really think about and replay things and say ‘That seemed a little bit out of place.’”