LOCKPORT – A State Police bomb squad was called to Lockport Police Headquarters Sunday after a man left a “bottle bomb” outside the complaint window, Police Chief Lawrence M. Eggert said.
Two State Police bomb technicians came to the station, took the bottle a safe distance outside and detonated it. “It sounded like an artillery shell going off,” Eggert said.
It was one of three calls Sunday involving the makeshift bombs, which are made with drain cleaner placed inside 2-liter plastic bottles.
One such bomb had blasted off on Market Street earlier in the day, but police were flabbergasted when an elderly man entered the department’s complaint area carrying another one.
According to Eggert, the unidentified man said, “I found this on Market Street,” and left. By the time the desk officers noticed what it was, they ran outside, but were unable to find the man.
Eggert said he’s assuming the man was just trying to be a helpful citizen, but the bomb was “extremely volatile” and could have harmed him as he drove it to headquarters in his car or while he was carrying it.
The plastic bottle was expanding under the pressure caused by the chemical reaction of the contents, Eggert said. It could have done substantial damage at Police Headquarters had it gone off inside the complaint area.
“That obviously creates a risk of injury. I’m inclined to press charges,” Eggert said, adding that he would discuss the matter with the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office.
The chief said the third bottle bomb call came late Sunday night from a baseball diamond in Outwater Park, where a caller reported “a tower of flame.”
The bottle bombs have become a popular prank, but are extremely dangerous. Eggert said the shock wave could kill a person if he were close enough, not to mention the risk of burns from flames or the chemicals in drain cleaner.