Mystery Surrounds Bomb Placed Outside Store
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – It wasn’t a suspicious package planted right outside a busy Walgreens store, it was a bomb and agents have no idea who did it.
Deputies say they’ve seen plenty of suspicious packages or bomb hoaxes, but rarely do they see the real thing, especially in a place like the Walgreens store on Aloma Avenue near Goldenrod Road (see map).
There’s a mystery surrounding who would do it. The device was outside, right under the 1-HR photo sign. WFTV checked it out and behind the wall is the cosmetics section.
Investigators don’t know if someone at the store was a target, but the person who placed the bomb apparently did it without being seen by anyone.
The black mark near the entrance to the Walgreens in east Orange County was only from the small explosion the bomb squad used to disarm the device that could’ve caused even more damage.
“It’s a kinda scary, because this is a fairly quiet neighborhood,” said Jeff Williamson, Orange County Sheriff’s Office. “When I first received the call, they said, ‘Jeff this is not a hoax, this is a real device.’”
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office says a customer noticed an oddly shaped box with wires sticking out of it and someone inside called 911.
“It was a box with some sort of wires hanging out of it and, as we were able to put surveillance on it, we were able to determine there were other dangerous components, as well, in this device,” Williamson said.
One Walgreens employee said it was the size of a suitcase, placed just steps away from a group of propane tanks.
“Is it possible they were trying to magnify [the explosion]?” WFTV reporter Eric Rasmussen asked Williamson.
“Certainly, that’s a possibility investigators are looking at right now,” Williamson said.
And while cameras inside Walgreens have captured criminals on video before, investigators say there’s no surveillance to help them in this case. A little extra security could’ve made all the difference. Just down the road at the CVS pharmacy, WFTV counted four security cameras on the outside of the building.
Working with the ATF and the FBI, investigators sent the remnants of the bomb to a lab to look for clues.
“They’ll get those results and work backwards and see if they can piece together what it consisted of and perhaps who may have done this,” Williamson said.
Investigators did say there was no shrapnel inside the bomb. That’s just one of the factors that could determine what kind of punishment the person who did it could face.
If investigators can prove the bomb was meant to hurt or kill someone, it could be a first-degree felony and as much as life in prison. If property damage was the motive, the charges would be second- or third-degree felonies carrying five to 15 years.
WFTV talked to a Walgreen’s spokesman early Tuesday evening who said security is often different from one store to another, but he couldn’t say why there are no cameras outside this location.