2 IEDs Explode at Florida Mall

Police seek 'person of interest'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2018 1:53 AM CST
2 IEDs Explode at Florida Mall
The explosion hit near the entrance of the mall's JC Penney.   (AP Photo/J Pat Carter, File)

(Newser) – Police are hunting what they call a "person of interest" after two improvised explosive devices went off at a mall in central Florida Sunday evening, causing damage and a small fire but no injuries. Police in Lake Wales say the pipe bombs went off in a service corridor near the entrance of the Eagle Ridge Mall's JC Penney store, WFTV reports. The mall was quickly evacuated after the IEDs went off around 5:20pm, reports ABC News. Authorities say the devices caused damage to a drop ceiling and to the wall of a docking area where trucks load and unload cargo. A backpack was found at the scene.

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Police say the person they're seeking is a middle-aged white male with a heavy/stocky build who was seen wearing a gray shirt and gray hat. The Polk County Sheriff's Office, the State Fire Marshal, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad have joined the investigation, the Ledger reports. Lake Wales Police Department Deputy Chief Troy Schulze says the bombing could have been a lot more dangerous if it had hit an area where there were shoppers. (Read more Florida stories.)

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