In Arizona, five people have received minor injuries related to Victim-Operated Improvised Explosive Devices (VOIEDs), according to the ATF. The devices were contained within plastic yellow 6-volt handheld flashlights which were activated when victims turned on the light. Thus far, three incidents were reported on May 13, 14 and 24 with the ATF announcing a reward offer of $10,000 for information leading the arrest and conviction of the responsible party or parties on May 31.
"Our immediate concern is that of public safety, 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 touch or manipulate the flashlight in any way. We are confident the public can assist in providing additional information," Thomas Atteberry, special agent in charge of the ATF Phoenix Field Division said in a news release.
Closer to Bartow, a home for the mentally handicapped in Atlanta was evacuated Tuesday morning when a call was received that a bomb was in the building.
"We respond any time a bomb threat comes in," Bartow County Sheriff's Office Investigator Sgt. Jonathan Rogers said. "We will search the building and evacuate only if we find a device. The decision to evacuate is up to management of that building."
Suspicious packages also are handled with care for threat of an explosion and have been reported as well. One recent call into 911 regarding a suspicious package at Taco Bell resulted in a gas can with no wires or other devices to raise alarm.
"When we respond, we're trained to look for certain things," Rogers said. "Common sense will tell you if it looks normal you can determine what to do next. If it looks like it shouldn't belong in that setting, then it may be a concern but if the officer can justify why it's there it can probably be determined that it's not suspicious. The gas can at Taco Bell wouldn't be suspicious because someone could have been working on their vehicle.
"A flashlight in a parking lot may not be suspicious, but if someone wants to do evil they can find a way to do that for a while."