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Bombs found on Southside

 

09/17/03

 

CAROL ROBINSON

News staff writer

 

Two bombs that were found Tuesday morning on a quiet residential Southside street packed enough power to maim or kill.

 

The bombs, built in .50-caliber ammunition boxes, contained nails and detonating systems. They were filled with a wet, grainy substance and weighed about 20 pounds each.

 

Authorities rushed the contents of the bombs to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms laboratory in Atlanta for analysis.

 

Investigators with the ATF, FBI and Birmingham police are looking at the strong possibility the bombs were placed in the 1600 block of Cullom Street as part of an ongoing neighborhood dispute. They won't discuss the nature of that squabble.

 

"The motives behind violent crimes are hate, revenge, power and escape," said Jim Cavanaugh, the special agent in charge of Alabama and Tennessee. "Somewhere in there is the motive in this."

 

Officers with Birmingham's bomb squad disabled both devices before they injured anyone, authorities said, but the bombs were partially functioning and could have caused pain and havoc.

 

"The bombs were constructed by someone trying to do serious damage," said supervisory ATF Special Agent David Hyche. "We're taking it very seriously. We've got 100 percent of our resources behind this now."

 

The first device was found about 7:30 a.m. when a woman noticed a suspicious package under trash near a car parked on the street in front of 1617 Cullom St. When the woman touched it, the package made a popping sound, police said. That's when she summoned officers from the city's South Precinct.

 

The police commotion prompted resident Michael Hawkins, who lives two doors down, to come out on his porch. He saw a strange container positioned between two doors on his porch and picked it up. It made a popping sound.

 

"It sounded like a muffled gunshot," said neighbor Rick Noblitt. "He picked it up and they yelled at him to put it back down."

 

Police roped off Cullom Street for six hours, evacuating some residents and issuing warnings to others.

 

"We kept announcing again and again for people to stay inside," Hyche said.

 

"They were casing up and down the street looking on everyone's porches," Noblitt said.

 

A major lead:

 

Birmingham's bomb technicians used a robot to render both devices safe, said police spokesman Lt. Henry Irby. The ammunition boxes are about the size of a large shoe box.

 

Irby said investigators were interviewing possible witnesses Tuesday afternoon. He would not say whether police have identified any suspect.

 

Hawkins said he didn't want to harm the investigation by talking about the ordeal or what might have led up to it.

 

"I don't know why someone would try to do this to me," he said.

 

Cavanaugh said authorities are anxious to solve the crime. The neighborhood dispute angle is a major lead, he said, but not to the exclusion of other theories. Anyone with information is encouraged to alert authorities.

 

"It's a full-court press for us," Cavanaugh said. "We need to resolve it.

 

"Someone has placed time and effort into the concoction of these devices," he said. "There is a lot of deliberateness to this type of crime. That tells us something."

 

Cavanaugh said while the incident may seem shocking, it's unfortunately not that unusual.

 

"Sometimes people resort to using homemade bombs to resolve problems," he said. "But they don't resolve anything and they just create more problems."

 

Residents said they were disturbed by the day's events, but not particularly surprised.

 

"This is beyond any kind of understanding, logic or sense," Noblitt said. "But it's not really shocking. It's just another day in America."

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quote:
Originally posted by Kealia:

Not that it will always help, but this is another good reason to clearly mark the outside of your ammo cans with "Official Geocache", "Geocaching Gamepiece", etc.

 

And IMHO a sticker from GC.com. Makes things clear, it's read-able and you can support the site icon_smile.gif


 

yeah, and a nutcase bomber would never think to do that either! icon_razz.gif

 

Maybe I should get one of those police robots to open the ammo cans for now on... Hey If I can control it remotely, I can stay home and do it all from my computer! heh! icon_razz.gificon_razz.gif

 

---------------------------------------------------

Free your mind and the rest will follow action-smiley-076.gif

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Exactly Doc-Dean...I don't think people are going to care what is written on it, they are gonna be afraid of it unless they are a cacher. An ammo can has the look of military, explosive, and danger. Unless you start painting them pink or something, they will remain like that.

 

I can see it now, some cacher is gonna be sent a bill for the "bomb squad" to detonate your McToys....lol

 

Brian

 

As long as you're going to think anyway, think big. -Donald Trump

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If the cache owner has his name and phone number, the authorities call that person, he/she shows up and confirms or denies that the item is their cache. If there is time crunch, like it will be several hours or days till the owner can show up, I would expect they would blow it. But if owner says it's theirs and a visit was logged within the last few days, it shouldn't be a problem.

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quote:
Maybe I should get one of those police robots to open the ammo cans for now on... Hey If I can control it remotely, I can stay home and do it all from my computer! heh! icon_razz.gificon_razz.gif

 

SWEET! We can make up a new site: lazycaching.com

 

"I'm 35 Years old, I am divorced, and I live in van down by the river!" - Matt Foley

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I switched my PDX Airport Travel Bug Lounge to a large clear container just for this reason. I wrote "internet treasure hunt" all over it, and added lots and lots of SMILIES.

 

I figured terrorists would not use lots of happy smilies on a threatening container, so it SHOULD keep it relatively safe...

 

Hmmm... this makes me think: if ya deliberately make a kaboomy thing that is painted all bright and happy colors, flowers, smilies, etc, THAT would make for an evil kind of reverse camo, in a way, because who would call the bomb squad on THAT? icon_frown.gif

 

-Elana (a.k.a. "Sparrowhawk")

peepwall.gif

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quote:
Originally posted by Romad_Pilot:

If the cache owner has his name and phone number, the authorities call that person, he/she shows up and confirms or denies that the item is their cache. If there is time crunch, like it will be several hours or days till the owner can show up, I would expect they would blow it. But if owner says it's theirs and a visit was logged within the last few days, it shouldn't be a problem.


 

You have your name on it when it gets stolen (like that never happens). Some freak builds it into a bomb and sets it back in the park.

You figure that the two DNF logs were just folks that couldn't find it. The cops call you and you say its yours then it blows up at the hands of the bomb squad or in the hands of another cacher. You are going to be in trouble.

 

_____________

 

"Half this game is ninety percent mental." Danny Ozark

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Not only that bigredmed, but if there is a number on the outside of the container, they may not call it in fear that by calling that number may trigger an explosive device. On top of that, the containers are normally covered up in some way. If the number isn't visible then, how would they call it if they dared? If the container is suspicious, then they would take all precautionary steps. i.e. bomb squad attaching a a string to it and pullin it out into the open. What would be considered suspicous, depends on the person. A metal ammo box in the woods, covered up. Yeah that is suspicious to a non cacher.

 

I believe this is one great reason to get permission directly from someone that oversees that property. They will know that there is a geocache there and can help ward off a "situation".

 

Brian

 

As long as you're going to think anyway, think big. -Donald Trump

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Oh good grief....

 

You are more likely to be killed in your car the very next time you drive it than you ever will be by a bomb, much less a bomb in a geocache....sheesh.

 

(For those of you in Iraq, I'm sorry, but these statistics are a bit skewed in your case...) However, you rarely hear about the casualties from simple accidents, only those that occur due to enemy action. Most of the casualties currently, since the *end of hostilities* have been due to vehicle accidents, drowning (believe it or not), landmines (left over from the conflict), accidental shootings of one troop by another, or self-inflicted wounds, horseplay, the disarming of ordinance (such as EOD units or Engineers), and illness.

 

The remainder are combat related casualties. We lost nearly as many personnel in other areas of the military to the exact same causes without the combat, but including DWI and other related types. We lost three times as many firefighters and police officers in a single day in 2001!!

 

Perspective folks, perspective!!!

 

You are in next to ZERO danger from a bomb statistically speaking! Less than zero even! If you are that ONE poor sap that's blown up by a homemade bomb, guess what? It was probably MEANT for YOU!! Or it was being BUILT by you and you blew yourself up...lol.

 

Enough of the bomb paranoia and the *ammo can syndrome*. Just don't use ammo cans for urban caches, seems like common sense to me. They'll still hit a tupperware with a disrupter, but there's little loss there anyway...heheheh.

 

I like the *smilies* idea though, I'm going to use that for one of our training sessions, see how many guys I get...LOL.

 

texasgeocaching_sm.gif

"Afghanistan was a battle. Iraq was a battle. The war goes on."

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perspective yes to cachers...but to the non cacher...you can't tell them that...most of us that are in the military or have been have perspective in that way...others do not...they hear things and it gets all blown out of proportion...

 

Brian

 

As long as you're going to think anyway, think big. -Donald Trump

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quote:
Originally posted by Breaktrack:

Oh good grief....

 

...

(For those of you in Iraq, I'm sorry, but these statistics are a bit skewed in your case...) However, you rarely hear about the casualties from simple accidents, only those that occur due to enemy action. Most of the casualties currently, since the *end of hostilities* have been due to vehicle accidents, drowning (believe it or not), landmines (left over from the conflict), accidental shootings of one troop by another, or self-inflicted wounds, horseplay, the disarming of ordinance (such as EOD units or Engineers), and illness.

 

."


 

Agree totally with your assessement. Perspective is lost in most activities today. However, I just read an article that says there were more deaths in Washington, DC(66) than in Iraq(52) during the 90 days immediately following the 'end of hostilities'. No doubt a slanted article but believable if you've ever been to DC.

 

But I always point the top of the ammo can away from me when I open it. Paranoid? Yes, and I want to keep them both.

 

___________________________________

All weal drive, the only way to go!

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Good prespective breaktack. I was giving the the anual force protectiton brief to our local Army EOD unit and we of course got off on the subject of IEDs. I asked them if they have ever heard of geocaching. No one had. I did my best to explain it to them. They also said that geocache stickers would not make them treat a suspicious item any differently.

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Y'know, we can continue to beat the dead horse named "what if" all we want. The bottom line is that it isn't going to accomplish anything.

 

Israelis are being killed by car bombers. Should they ban cars? Israelis are being killed by suicide bombers. Should they ban people?

 

Everything is a "what if", and any kind of spin you want can be put on something to slant in whichever direction you want to go. I'm going to continue caching as I have been, making the conscious effort to watch what types of caches I place and where, just so my own EOD guys aren't called out of bed to blow up one of my cache containers.

 

In conclusion, I'll list what should probably be banned in Geocaching due to inherent dangers associated with said items:

 

pens/pencils (pointy)

ammo cans (could cut/infect if rusted)

rubbermaid containers (may harbor mold/fungus if broken)

ziploc bags (could choke a squirrel)

pvc pipe (construction crew might not have enough to build a house if you take that 2' section)

logsheets (you're killing trees)

McToys (supporting foreign sweat-shops/factories)

stickers (killing of horses for glue)

 

That is all.

 

Brian

Team A.I.

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quote:
Originally posted by Woodsters Outdoors:

perspective yes to cachers...but to the non cacher...you can't tell them that...most of us that are in the military or have been have perspective in that way...others do not...they hear things and it gets all blown out of proportion...

 

Brian

 

_As long as you're going to think anyway, think big. -Donald Trump_


 

You are correct, sir.

 

texasgeocaching_sm.gif

"Afghanistan was a battle. Iraq was a battle. The war goes on."

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quote:
Originally posted by Titus2_13:

Agree totally with your assessement. Perspective is lost in most activities today. However, I just read an http://www.gunowners.org/a080503.htm that says there were more deaths in Washington, DC(66) than in Iraq(52) during the 90 days immediately following the 'end of hostilities'. No doubt a slanted article but believable if you've ever been to DC.

 

But I always point the top of the ammo can away from me when I open it. Paranoid? Yes, and I want to keep them both.


 

Hey, no one said a LITTLE bit of paranoia is a bad thing....ROFL.

 

I've jumped out of airplanes, dove to 180 feet under the ocean, crewed several types of tanks in every kind of condition, flown in an assorted array of military aircraft on missions that can't even be described, handled ammo, explosives, IED's, you name it, and NOW I'm supposed to worry about a GEOCACHE????? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAH.

 

But no, I don't blame ya for pointing the ammo can away from your, er, sensitive parts...lol.

 

texasgeocaching_sm.gif

"Afghanistan was a battle. Iraq was a battle. The war goes on."

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quote:
Originally posted by chemfed:

Good prespective breaktack. I was giving the the anual force protectiton brief to our local Army EOD unit and we of course got off on the subject of IEDs. I asked them if they have ever heard of geocaching. No one had. I did my best to explain it to them. They also said that geocache stickers would not make them treat a suspicious item any differently.


 

Man, don't ya just love those annual briefings....sigh. I just miss them soooooo much.... NOT!

 

The only one I actually miss giving was the Code of Conduct briefing. I memorized the code and the brief and just boomed that thing out to the troops, hoped to make an impression. I still have my father's original Code of Conduct card he received when he entered the military in 1955. I carried it througout my military career and still have it here at the house.

 

Yup, geocaching stickers just don't say, *Don't blow me up!!! LOL.

 

texasgeocaching_sm.gif

"Afghanistan was a battle. Iraq was a battle. The war goes on."

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I can understand that a sticker would not prevent a bombsquad from blowing up a device that could be a bomb, but if there was a phone number on the outside why would they not call it first?

 

In all seriousness, what person, unless they want to get caught or place the blame on someone else, would put a phone number on a bomb?

 

P.S. This pertains to geocache type situatuations, not an ammo can placed under a car in a parking lot or something.

 

Kar

 

[This message was edited by Team Shibby on September 17, 2003 at 05:32 PM.]

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Thi8s Could be as serious as placing a cache within 150 feet of a rr or Bridge. Wasn't one of our cachers sent to jail over placing a cache?(I feel a Markwell coming)

 

Putting explosives into COMMON objects is the way it IS done, the Teddy Bear, the package of food, a purse, the piece of broken lumber used by the Unibomber.

 

Generally urban bombs are of the pipe variety, unless a creative thinker spends a lot of time planning it. A lot of capped pipes that truckers put their load sheets in fall off on the highway, and end up getting "blown" by the bomb squad.

 

That is the importance of choosing a location that isn't a suspicious place to hide a cache.

 

NOT in a crowd, high traffic area, NOT in a place of public events, and definately not in a place and appearance that LOOKS like a IED (Improvised Explosive Device).

 

LE personnel will NOT believe any labels, the labels are used by terrorists to make the public TRUST the object, and draw them close to it.

 

WE should be careful ourselves, in placing and finding

 

geocan.jpg

 

Trash-out, EVERYtime

 

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is that the frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by itslef but the wrod as a wlohe.

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quote:
Originally posted by Team Shibby:

I can understand that a sticker would not prevent a bombsquad from blowing up a device that _could_ be a bomb, but if there was a phone number on the outside why would they not call it first?


 

Shibby, because there are devices that are set to go off when a phone is called. What if inside that container there was such a device. The police say, wow a phone number, lets call it. Kapow! No more nice and dumb policeman. Same thing that goes when there is a bomb threat in buiildings, this I laugh at, they go marching in and starting talking on their radios and the phones. Yeah they are smart. That was one of the first things taught to me by the Air Force when clearing a building of a bomb threat.

 

Brian

 

As long as you're going to think anyway, think big. -Donald Trump

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quote:
Originally posted by Team Shibby:

OK icon_smile.gif

 

That makes sense. I never gave much thought to a remote activated IED. I guess a bomb maker can be pretty sneaky. Its a shame they don't use their smarts for a little something more productive other than to kill or mame innocent people icon_rolleyes.gif

 

Kar

 

http://www.teamshibby.com

 

Krs, Kar & Na


 

Thats because these extremists have narrow minds and think that you should die because you don't agree with thier beliefs. This is an idea that is not understandable to Americans, but believe you me, they are out there!

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quote:
Originally posted by GeoCan:

 

...definately not in a place and appearance that LOOKS like a IED (Improvised Explosive Device).

 


 

Well I'll be darned. Hey, thanks for defining IED. We used to call 'em clandestine devices. Some of 'em pretty tricky to render safe.

Is my age revealed????

 

"Today's truth remains valid only as long as it withstands the test of tomorrow's discoveries" - George Hicks

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It's either in the FAQ or the Guidelines about placing near certain places and places targeted for terrorism (which is a wide statement). I wish they would get rid of the faq and just put whatever info that's on it that isn't on the guidelines on the guidelines. Too mcuh confusion. People read one thing and thing that is it, when the real answers are scattered across the site, to include the forums.

 

Brian

 

As long as you're going to think anyway, think big. -Donald Trump

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quote:
Originally posted by allanorn:

When I was planning a cache trip, I came across http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?ID=28593. Apparently they placed an ammo box a little too close to the airport and a cacher was seen rehiding it and taking off.


 

I don't know... I think it would take something larger than an ammo-box-sized explosive to harm the airport from there. There are closer caches. Heck, there's a micro IN the airport now (I do not pretend to know how that got approved). I think the real problem was simply that it was in a populated area, and it got noticed. Ammo boxes don't make great urban caches. This one was actually on an island in the middle of the road, and you could hardly be discreet when fetching it. But I expected it to be plundered within days, not bomb-squadded a year later.

 

My least favorite cache container is the PVC pipe, though. They just look ominous. And I can never get them open.

 

I completely agree that the rules and guidelines are spread out too much and too difficult to find. A piece here, a piece there, I know I saw a rule about somethingorother SOMEWHERE around here... consolidating tham and making clear what's set in stone and what isn't would be very helpful.

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quote:
Originally posted by allanorn:

When I was planning a cache trip, I came across http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?ID=28593. Apparently they placed an ammo box a little too close to the airport and a cacher was seen rehiding it and taking off.

 

Should there be a mention about placing items near "high security" areas in the "hide a cache" FAQ?


Its amazing how some people can show absolutely no common sense!!

 

---------------------------------------------------

Free your mind and the rest will follow action-smiley-076.gif

And may no Admin bricks 19490_2600.gif fly your way

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