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Harford teen charged with manufacturing, using 'soda bottle bombs'

Law EnforcementFires

A 17-year-old boy has been charged with manufacturing and using "improvised explosive devices" after setting off so-called soda bottle bombs in a neighborhood east of Bel Air Tuesday, fire investigators said.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal, which conducted an investigation with the Harford County Sheriff's Office, charged the youth, according to a statement issued late Tuesday afternoon.

The teenager has been charged with two felony counts of manufacture, possession and distribution of a destructive device. He has been released to his parents' custody before any action is taken by the county's Department of Juvenile Services, fire officials said.

No injuries or property damage were reported.

"The construction of these types of illegal devices has often been misrepresented as fun, however the destructive nature that occurs can cause: loss of vision, permanent hearing loss, severe damage to hands and possibly death," State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci said in the statement.

Harford County Sheriff's Office investigators contacted the fire marshal's office after first investigating reports of shots being fired in the 900 block of Todd Road at 11 p.m. Monday, according to Edward Hopkins, spokesman for the sheriff's office.

Deputies searched the around the townhouses in the 900 block of Todd after the first call, Hopkins said. Deputies remained on foot patrol in the area through the night and early morning, he said.

A deputy on patrol heard what sounded like another shot going off around 6 a.m., Hopkins said.

At that point, deputies learned that a still-unidentified person, or people, were setting off homemade bottle, or Drano, bombs, according to Hopkins.

Law enforcement officers found at least one suspected bottle bomb in a rear yard and contacted the Fire Marshal's Office, he said.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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