The FBI has issued an all-points bulletin for a 22-year-old man in connection with pipe bombs found in mailboxes in five states within the last week. The man has been identified as Luke John Helder, described as a white male with dark hair and green eyes. The FBI says he?s “armed and dangerous.”
He was last seen in Texas — where the most recent bomb was found — driving a gray or black 1992 Honda Accord with a Minnesota license plate bearing the number EZL 783. A pipe bomb found in a mailbox in Amarillo, Texas on Monday night appears similar to the 17 found in four other states. A source from the FBI says he believes a note was found but couldn?t confirm this.
FBI agents believe this one person is responsible for all 17 pipe bombs that have been discovered since Friday in mailboxes in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Colorado. Six people were injured last week in Iowa and Illinois. They base their belief on the fact that typewritten letters attached to the bombs were in the first person singular and the bombs were similar in design.
In the letters, which are critical of the government, say things like, “If the government controls what you want to do, they control what you can do.” Helder also wrote, “There is no such thing as death. The people I’ve dismissed from this reality are not at all dead? “I’m obtaining your attention in the only way I can.” He promises to deliver more “attention getters” in the future. FBI profilers studied the notes over the weekend and decided that the bomber is an educated white man whose native language is English and their profile appears to be correct. On Tuesday he was seen driving away, so they were able to identify him by his license number.
An unrelated ?copycat? bomb was found after it exploded inside a mailbox in Waldorf, Maryland, outside Washington. Unlike the others, which were pipe bombs, it was made with chemicals contained in a soda bottle. Although they were nearly identical, the 17 bombs in the Midwest and Colorado differed in their detonation mechanisms.
According to authorities, “The detonation devices were apparently different in Iowa and Illinois from what they were in Nebraska. The difference [in the detonators] caused the explosives in Nebraska to be somewhat more stable and less likely to explode if someone were to handle it. However, they still were active explosives.”
Six of the eight bombs found in Iowa and Illinois blew up Friday, wounding four postal employees and two residents. Two other devices were discovered and disarmed. None of the seven bombs found in eastern Nebraska over the weekend nor the eighth one found Monday near Hastings detonated, according to the Nebraska State Patrol.
Yet another pipe bomb was found Monday in Salida, Colorado, attached to a folded piece of paper. Construction was “consistent with those found recently in Nebraska and Iowa,” says the FBI’s Denver office. “Residents throughout Colorado are asked to exercise extreme caution when opening their mailboxes and to immediately report any suspicious packages or activities to appropriate authorities.” Authorities are asking Colorado residents to leave their rural mailbox doors open, so carriers can see inside.
At a news conference Sunday, Mike Matuzek, Postal Service district manager for the Central Plains, asked residents of Iowa and Nebraska who owned “rural-style mailboxes” — ones that are mounted at the curb or a distance away from a residence — to remove the mailbox doors or fix them in such a way that the doors can’t be closed without significant effort. He predicted Illinois residents would to the same thing. “This is to provide for the safety and well-being of not only the public but also the postal employees that are delivering the mail, ” he says.
Most of the pipes were about 1 inch in diameter and 6 inches long and were attached to wires or a battery. Federal officials say that although the bombs were found in mailboxes, none of them was sent through the mail.
To learn how to protect yourself from attack, read “No Such Thing as Doomsday” by Philip Hoag,click here.
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