Home-made bombmaking: New US teen craze?
Joshua Prater, a student at Marcos de Niza High School in Tempe,
Arizona was arrested on Tuesday after a cleaning lady found what
later turned out to be a home-made bomb in his house.
The woman noticed a strange device with wires sticking out while doing her regular cleaning. She took the device to the local fire station, where police specialists identified it as an improvised explosive device (IED).
"They had it X-rayed, they saw it was a valid IED. It was something that wasn't big, but could cause serious injuries and the death of someone," said Tempe Police Sgt. Mike Pooley as cited by KTAR Newsroom.
The device was disabled and the house where it was found searched where more explosives were discovered. The 18-year-old was arrested by police on charges of possessing a prohibited weapon.
Prater’s possible plan for using the IED are being investigated.
On the same day, 18-year-old Mason Beuning was detained in Gainsville, Florida for allegedly stealing from a local Walmart store items which could be used for making an IED. The bomb squad searched the teenager’s home and found a device.
"It was a small device. Definitely would have injured someone who was right next to it, but the device was not something that would cause a great amount of destruction," Gainesville Police Officer Ben Tobias said as cited by ActionNewsJax.com.
Beuning’s friends, questioned by police, said the device was assembled just for fun, to explode it in the woods.
The arrests come at the time when the US is on alert, following the Boston Marathon bombings which three people dead and over 200 injured. Two young men who emigrated to the US from Russia in 2001 were accused of the attack using improvised explosive devices.
That tragedy has led to people starting questioning the effectiveness of the anti-terror campaign the US has been engaged in since 9/11.
“I believe this was a massive failure of the surveillance state that we’ve created in America. Since 9/11 we spent over $700 billion on national security and a lot of that is surveillance with video cameras, with massive data collection, with fusion centers, and none of those helped to deter or detect any terrorist plot. And while the surveillance video was useful in reconstructing what happened it didn’t prevent it,” American lawyer Jesselyn Radack told RT.
Now with the information on making anything, including bombs, being available online, cases of teens building IEDs is becoming more common.
A week ago a teenage girl in Florida was arrested for allegedly “discharging weapons or firerarms” on the grounds of her school in the town of Bartow. 16-year-old Kiera Wilmot says she was only carrying out an experiment, mixing substances in a plastic bottle. The chemical reaction tore the bottle’s cap off and led to the girl being taken away to police department.
At the end of April, a New Jersey teenager was charged with possession of explosive devices, when police discovered 6 IEDs in different stages of assembly in his house. That was part of the police’s investigation into bombing threats left at the boy’s school on the same day Boston Marathon bombs went off.