Explosion in Phoenix could be linked to Glendale flashlight bombs

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Police Department responded to 1625 S. Central Avenue just after 3 p.m. on Thursday after reports of an explosion at the Salvation Army Distribution Center.

According to police, a device went off inside the facility causing very minor injuries to two employees.

Officers said the employees were sorting through donations.

Wwhen one of them found a yellow flashlight, and clicked the switch to turn it on, it blew up in his face. Another Salvation Army staff member described the injuries as "scratches."

Police evacuated the building and nearby area as a precaution and the bomb squad was on scene.

The Salvation Army owns several buildings off Central Avenue, just north of Interstate 17. 

The distribution center, store, and residences which are part of the complex remain evacuated.  

Roughly 25 residents, who are part of a rehabilitation program, were bused off-site while investigators and bomb-sniffing dogs sweep the site.

The ATF and Glendale Police are assisting Phoenix Police in the investigation. 

They confirm, the rigged flashlight was similar to two devices found in Glendale within the past few weeks. 

[Flashlight bombs injure 3 in Glendale]

"We really don't know the target," said Phoenix Police Sgt. Trent Crump, "We believe someone is trying to inflict serious injury on people, but we don't know who and we don't know why. We have no suspect and no motive."

Officers and Salvation Army officials admit it will be difficult to trace the flashlight bomb back to its original donation site. 

The complex receives 10 large truckloads of donated goods from drop-off points all over the Valley on a daily basis.

Last week, Glendale police put out a warning to be on the lookout after two separate explosive devices were found in open areas around Glendale.

The explosives were inside a standard 6-volt yellow flashlight.

Police said the devices detonated when the people who discovered them tried to turn on the flashlights.  

Anyone with any information is being asked to call local police or the ATF hotline at 1-888-ATF-BOMB (1-888-283-2662).