Law enforcement officials say they do not yet know why a Manchester man received a packaged device that exploded Friday night, but a reward for information is being offered in the type of case they described as “beyond rare.”
A 28-year-old resident left his home for work around 8 a.m. Friday. Shortly after, an explosive device disguised as a package was dropped at his front porch with his name on it, said Carroll County Sheriff Jim DeWees during a Monday news conference.
The man’s grandfather took the package inside the home, in the 3300 block of View Ridge Court, according to DeWees, and placed it on the kitchen table where it remained untouched until his grandson came home at around 5:30 p.m. that day. The grandson took it upstairs to his bedroom, which faced the front of the house in a neighborhood with single-family houses on half-acre, or more, lots, and opened it.
The device was triggered, and an explosion caused injuries to the man’s abdomen and legs. Pictures fell off the wall, the roof was slightly raised and neighbors felt the shake, said DeWees, speaking at the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office Training Academy at the former North Carroll High School building in Hampstead.
“I will give you what I can, but please understand the investigation is still very real, still very active," DeWees said at the beginning of the news conference.
“The package was an improvised explosive device,” the sheriff later confirmed.
DeWees said investigators have not identified a motive and do not know why the man was targeted, but the Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are offering a $5,000 reward for those with information that leads to an arrest.
The FBI and the Office of the State Fire Marshal are also involved in the investigation. Forensic evidence is being investigated at ATF and fire marshal labs.
The injured man was taken to a trauma center in Pennsylvania, DeWees said. He’s now stable enough to give interviews to the police. Dewees said the victim’s account of sounds and sights will be helpful in the investigation. The man’s grandparents and another resident inside the house at the time were not injured.
L.C. Cheeks, an assistant special agent in charge with Baltimore’s ATF, said this case is far from common.
“It’s not even rare. It’s sub-rare,” he said in an interview. “This is beyond rare.”
Carroll County Breaking News
Police believe the package was delivered to the Manchester home, in the Lineboro community close to Pennsylvania’s border, between 8 and 8:30 a.m. It was not there when the victim left for work, DeWees said. He said they also believe the package was hand-delivered by a third party or by the suspect, and the victim was targeted.
DeWees said investigators do not believe professional carriers such as the United States Postal Service, UPS or FedEx were involved. And nothing indicates it was a part of anything larger or the beginning of a spate of explosions, he added.
The sheriff said he could not go into detail about the device itself yet since they are still investigating. Police expect to have more information on the device within the next few weeks.
“I know that we’re coming up on the holiday season and folks are going to be receiving an awful lot of packages,” he said before warning the public about opening any packages they were not expecting or that look like they were not delivered by a credible source.
“You should treat every package suspiciously” if it’s delivered unexpectedly and has a questionable label, he said.
DeWees said they still have interviews to conduct and forensics to analyze.
Anyone with information should call 1-888-399-8477.