Johnstown Independent

Sheriff reports two explosive devices placed in mailboxes

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No one has been injured yet, but the thought of someone planting explosive devices in mailboxes in northwest Licking County near Johnstown is frightening just the same, said Lt. Chris Slayman of the Licking County Sheriff's Office.

"They're very small amateur devices," he said, "but, they can certainly blow up the mailbox and someone's hand."

Slayman said there have been two confirmed incidents of explosive devices reported thus far. Only one was an actual detonation.

"It was predominantly last week," Slayman said. The incidents took place in mailboxes in the 5000 block of Johnstown-Alexandria Road and the 8000 block of Jug Street, east of state Route 310.

Slayman said the devices are carbon dioxide canisters with fuses.

"These are easy things to make," he said. "This person may have a little more knowledge than the average person (about explosives)."

Slayman emphasized the devices discovered were not sophisticated enough to be rigged to explode when the mailbox door was opened.

"They are timed devices," he said. "The good news is, they'd go off soon after being planted, they're not triggered upon opening the mailbox.

"That would be really bad."

As of Feb. 21, Slayman said there had been no more reports. He said the Jug Street mailbox owner heard a detonation and then found the mailbox was destroyed Feb. 17.

A device was found undetonated in the Johnstown Alexandria Road mailbox Feb. 16 and the Franklin County Bomb Squad was called. The device was removed safely.

Slayman said the case remains under investigation, but two juveniles are being questioned.

He said neither has confessed to the crimes, but there have been no additional incidents since the juveniles were questioned.

Slayman said people in the area shouldn't be afraid to open their mailboxes, but extra caution is advised and any incidents should be reported.

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