'Urban Terrorists' Target Calif. Cops With Booby Traps

In Riverside County, failed attempts include gas leak, gun
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2010 9:07 AM CDT
California Attorney General Jerry Brown speaks at a news conference in Riverside, Calif., seeking the public's help to identify those responsible for attacks on the Riverside County Gang Task Force.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Cops in Hemet, California are the target of a potentially deadly booby trap campaign carried out by unknown assailants that attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown calls “urban terrorism.” Attempts have included flooding the offices of the local gang task force with gas, rigging a gun to fire near the office, and a “dangerous” device planted near a task force member’s vehicle. “It is incredible and even unprecedented,” Brown says.

The Hemet-San Jacinto Gang Task Force, formed in 2006, appears to be the target of the attacks. Local police are working with the FBI and ATF to bring the murderous pranksters to justice, and have authorized a $200,000 reward for helpful information. “The only reason they haven't killed an officer yet,” the Hemet police chief tells the Los Angeles Times, is because officers “have been observant enough to see the devices, but we can't expect their luck to hold up.” The police have their eyes on a local motorcycle gang, the Vagos, who “do a lot of surveillance” and often “infiltrate police departments.” (Read more California stories.)

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