Authorities in Howard County, Md., warned citizens about bottle bomb pranks this week.
Police and firefighters said empty plastic bottles are being turned into explosive devices. No serious injuries have been reported in Howard County, but there has been property damage and the devices are potentially dangerous, police and fire marshals said.
Five bottle bombs have been reported in Howard County so far this year. Nine similar incidents were reported in the county last year.
Juveniles often make the devices, which usually contain corrosive chemicals hazardous to people, animals and the environment. People who are exposed could suffer injuries to the skin, eyes and respiratory system.
Recently, a resident reported parts of a plastic bottle and aluminum foil in a driveway in the 16600 block of Ed Warfield Road in Woodbine Sunday. Investigators determined it to be a detonated bottle bomb, authorities said.
On Friday, a bottle bomb exploded near a child outside a home in the 5700 block of Thunder Hill Road in Columbia, authorities said. The child was not injured.
Last month, three juveniles were investigated for bottle bombs that destroyed metal mailboxes, authorities said. They were ordered to take a fire and bottle bomb safety class.
Anyone who sees a bottle bomb should call 911 immediately. Bottle bombs that are significantly expanded and deformed may be about to explode.
People convicted of manufacturing and detonating explosive devices like bottle bombs can face felony charges.