ATF investigates IED attacks in Arizona

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)’s Phoenix Field Division has announced a $10,000 reward to help them stop an apparent improvised explosive device (IED) attacker that has struck in Glendale and Phoenix, Ariz. The methodology of the attacker(s) is to use what the ATF calls a victim-operated IED (VOIED), which in this case is a flashlight in which the on/off switch is the trigger for the explosive mechanism. The explosions have been triggered when victims found “apparently discarded items and tried the on/off switches in order to determin if the flashlights worked.” The attack is linked to three explosions, which occurred on May 13 and 14 in Glendale and on May 24 in Phoenix. Five persons have received injuries from these three IED devices.

On May 13, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz., an IED flashlight was placed near a business and two victims received injuries. A day later on May 14, a flashlight was found near another business, and the victim who found the flashlight also received minor injuries. In both cases, the flashlights were discovered in a landscaping area near the businesses. The third incident occurred at a Salvation Army facility on May 24, 2012, when an employee found the flashlight as part of a donation. Two person were injured in this third device’s explosion.

The $10,000 reward is for information leading to arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. Information can be submitted to the toll-free, 24-hour reporting hotline for the ATF at 1-888-ATF-BOMB. In the meantime, the ATF is encouraging finders of discarded flashlight to be very careful and not touch or manipulate the unit in any way.