SUNVALLEY, Idaho -- The Sun Valley Police Department is warning the public to be on the lookout after five explosive devices made out of plastic soda bottles were found this week in the Elkhorn Springs area, four of those had exploded.
The devices are called 'bottle bombs' or 'Drano bombs' and contain shrapnel materials that can cause serious injury. The bombs usually have a mixture of water, Drano and aluminum foil. Some of them have tape securing the cap to the bottle.
Sun Valley Police Chief Walt Femling says the bombs can be activated when someone moves or shakes the bottle, which then generates a chemical mixture. An explosion can occur in less than a minute. He says the liquid inside the bottle can cause second- or third-degree burns. If you are holding the device you could lose some fingers.
On Monday, a maintenance employee for a property in the Elkhorn Springs area spotted a suspicious item in a pond and called police. Sun Valley officers found a plastic bottle that appeared to have been damaged in an explosion. Several pieces of shrapnel were found nearby. A search of the area also turned up a second exploded bottle bomb.
Sun Valley Police contacted investigators who have been working on a task force after a homemade bomb was found in a mailbox in East Fork on April 24. Three suspicious bottles were found near a home on Hyndeman View Drive, between Hailey and Ketchum, and the Twin Falls Bomb Squad was called out to investigate and neutralize the devices. Femling says the devices found in Elkhorn Springs are the same as the ones found in East Fork.
On Wednesday, members of the Sun Valley Police Department, Ketchum Police and the Blaine County Sheriff's Office returned to the Elkhorn Springs area to conduct a search for more bombs. Three additional devices were discovered. Two plastic bottles with shrapnel had exploded. A third device was found, but it had not exploded. No one has been hurt in any of these incidents.
Over the past week and a half the Sun Valley Police Department has received numerous citizen reports of possible gunshots or loud noises in the Elkhorn Springs area where the devices were found.
Femling says officers have been going door-to-door and talking to residents in the large condominium complex, gathering information in hopes of identifying possible suspects.
Police are urging the public to be mindful of these devices and if you see a soda bottle that shows signs of swelling, or appears suspicious in any way, do not touch it and call police immediately.
Anyone with information about these devices is urged to contact the Sun Valley Police Department at 208-622-5345.