Police search for leads in local unsolved bombing cases

- In 2000, over a period of five months, a so-called 'Suburban Bomber' blew up three cars, damaged another and blew up a dumpster in Chester County. In 2016, a package blew up in a man's hands in Center City. Both cases remain unsolved. 

As the bombs continued to explode around Austin, Texas, and the level of sophistication in the devices ramped up, experts in our area kept watched closely and explained just how difficult these bombing investigations can be to solve.

"The difficulty is in tying victimology, the victims, and the motive," West Chester University professor Al DiGiacomo told FOX 29 Monday night.  

DiGiacomo helped run the investigation for Chester County in the so called  'Suburban Bomber' case back in 2000. That bomb maker terrified residents for months as authorities tried to track him down. He left behind everything from pipe bombs to devices with sophisticated triggering mechanisms.

"Did the mindset of the bomber change?  Are they trying to sophisticate there? Are they trying to enjoy this?" DiGiacomo asked. 

"Any kind of tip could help us on this," Deputy Commissioner Dennis Wilson said. He supervises the Philadelphia Police Department's bomb squad and counter-terrorism units.

Philadelphia police are still on the trail of the Pine Street bomber. He was captured on video tape in November 2016 walking almost two miles to drop off a package containing an explosive device in the 1800 block of Pine Street.

"We're quite sure that this is not random, it's victim targeted," Deputy Wilson told FOX 29.

Bomb experts traced the suspect's movements from Third and Spring Garden to the bombing scene and back. When the device exploded, 60-year-old James Alden suffered extensive injuries to his hands, face and chest. The bomber has not been caught.

"We do have DNA on this one, but we have no match as of right now," Wilson explained. "I think with all this video evidence it will be solved."

DiGiacomo sympathizes with the victims in Austin and investigators as they try to stop the bomber and prevent any more deaths or injuries.

"Everyone becomes a target and everyone becomes concerned if there's injury or death. That's going to be the top investigation in any police department," DiGiacomo added.    

There is still a $10,000 reward in the Pine Street bombing. Commissioner Wilson points out that bomb squads across the country share information on bomb making materials in each case. So there are a lot of eyes and ears looking at the explosions in Austin and here in Philadelphia.  

 

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