ATF offers $10K reward in 'flashlight bomber' case

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for three recent incidents involving flashlight bombs.

Three improvised explosive devices inside yellow, plastic 6-volt handheld flashlights exploded when victims found these apparently discarded items and tried the on/off switches to determine if they worked, according to the ATF.

Two of these incidents happened May 13 and 14 on opposite sides of Glendale. In each case, the victims discovered a flashlight in the landscaping area of a business.

The third incident occurred May 24 at a Salvation Army distribution center near Central Avenue and Buckeye Road in Phoenix. An employee found the flashlight while sorting through donations.

Five people received minor injuries related to the detonation of these devices.

In light of these recent incidents, Goodwill has temporarily banned flashlight donations and sales for the safety of its employees and shoppers.

The ATF, FBI, Glendale Police Department and Phoenix Police Department continue to investigate these incidents.

"Our immediate concern is that of public safety," said Thomas Atteberry, special agent in charge of the ATF's Phoenix Field Division. "If anyone discovers a flashlight that does not belong to them or appears out of place, no matter the color or shape, do not attempt to touch or manipulate the flashlight in any way."

Anyone who sees a suspicious flashlight or has information about who may be planting these explosive devices is asked to call local police or the ATF hotline at 1-888-ATF-BOMB.