Earlier today Ed wrote about the explosion inside a FedEx facility in Schertz, Texas. Authorities immediately suspected that package was probably sent by the same serial bomber responsible for four previous attacks in Austin. Later, authorities confirmed that the person who had sent that package had also sent a second package from the same location. That second package has now been confirmed to also be a bomb. From the Austin Statesman:
U.S. Rep Lloyd Doggett has confirmed to the American-Statesman that a suspicious package found at a FedEx facility in Southeast Austin on Tuesday was a bomb.
“They’re trying to figure out how to open the package without destroying it,” said Doggett, who had been briefed on the investigation by federal officials.
Emergency crews were called out to the facility in the 4100 block of McKinney Falls Parkway shortly after 6 a.m. on Tuesday…
Now that the package has been confirmed to be a bomb, it marks the sixth explosive device to target Austin since a rash of bombings began on March 2.
And now we’re getting more information about where the two bombs originated and where they were headed:
The bomb found at a FedEx ground facility at McKinney Falls Parkway was sent by the same person behind a bomb that exploded early Tuesday at a FedEx facility in Schertz, U.S. Rep Lloyd Doggett told the American-Statesman.
The package was also sent from the same FedEx Office store in Sunset Valley from where the Schertz was sent, Doggett said.
Doggett would not say where the packages were destined or offer additional comments as to the investigation into the identity of the sender.
Authorities have said they are working on the assumption these bombs are the work of the same person who planted four other bombs in Austin based on the materials used. The good news here, and there is some, is that no one was seriously hurt by either of these bombs. The first one, which was on a conveyer belt when it exploded, only caused minor injuries to one person. The second bomb didn’t explode at all. And that’s more good news because it means authorities will likely have a complete bomb which could contain fingerprints and/or DNA which could be used to identify the bomber. There could also be clues to where the bomb-maker learned to build these bombs which might help narrow the search.
Even if the bomber was careful enough not to leave his DNA, authorities now how evidence that was lacking before. This person apparently walked into a store, one that probably had security cameras inside. The store or others nearby may have also had cameras outside. In addition, this individual paid for shipping somehow. Presumably what wasn’t with a FedEx account under his own name. The most anonymous form of payment would be cash, but that requires interacting with a person behind the counter. Did the FedEx employee get a good look at him? This isn’t purely speculation. Police have confirmed there was no package drop off at the location where these were mailed:
Sunset Valley Police Chief Lenn Carter said the store has no drop-off point, so whoever “delivered (the package) had to have come inside the store.”
In addition, FedEx has said it gave the FBI “extensive evidence related to these packages and the individual that shipped them collected from our advanced technology security systems.” So it sounds like they have something on this guy.
Some reports are suggesting the attempt to mail packages from Austin back to locations in Austin is an escalation over simply leaving them in locations at night. That’s true since it gives the bomber the potential to spread mayhem. But this also strikes me as a bit of a panic. This person had remained unseen through four bombings primarily because he avoided public locations that might have witnesses and cameras. Now he seems to be taking a big risk that makes his capture more likely.