Plastic bottles under chemical pressure used in dangerous pranks

400-BOTTLE-BOMBIf you’ve ever put salted peanuts into a bottle of Coca-Cola, you understand that the chemical reaction between the two will cause the contents to erupt like a volcano. If the bottle was capped, and the pressure had nowhere to go, it could explode.

Deputies patrolling the area around World Golf Village tell Historic City News reporters that someone has been making “chemical reaction devices” using small plastic bottles and household chemicals. They operate on the same principle but on a larger scale.

Although detectives with the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office have been trying to identify who is responsible since the first incident was reported in November, those efforts have, so far, been unsuccessful. The first victim suffered damage to her vehicle as she past a dumpster in the parking lot of McDonald’s located at 103 Tuscan Way where one of the devices had been triggered. The victim suffered no personal injuries, according to the report.

Most recently, two chemical reaction devices were detonated last Sunday afternoon, April 7, in the King and the Bear Subdivision. Each occurred between 1:00-3:00 p.m.

The first incident was reported in the 5200 block of Comfort Court. A device was placed in the victim’s mailbox, where it detonated and caused property damage. The second incident was discovered by a deputy while patrolling in the 2600 block of Oak Grove Avenue. The residents were inside and unaware that on the lawn outside, another chemical reaction device was building pressure.

Historic City News reporters have been told that these crude devices are not considered bombs — so far, they have not contained gunpowder or shrapnel. Detectives are considering these incidents as “experimental pranks,” because there seems to be no intent to harm individuals. Nonetheless, law enforcement officers caution that the devices can cause personal injury if they detonate in close contact.

Anyone with information concerning these crime is asked to contact Sergeant Mike Strausbaugh at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office by calling (904) 824-8304. You can remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a cash reward by calling CrimeStoppers of Northeast Florida at 1-888-277-TIPS (8477).

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