CHIEFS: Be alert to bottle bombs

Two found Tuesday



Chief BrandonStandley crop


Authorities are warning city residents to be on the lookout for bottle bombs after three have been found in the past two weeks.

“If people see a bottle lying on the ground — it could be a two-liter or a 20 ounce bottle — don’t handle it, and above all, don’t take it into their homes, garages or put it in another container,” Bellefontaine Police Chief Brandon Standley said this morning.

Fire Chief Andy Fissel concurred, saying, “Just jostling or moving it could set it off.”

The bottles contain a mixture of household chemicals and aluminum foil. A chemical reaction causes gases to build up. Pressure from the gases causes the bottle to swell and burst.

Chief Fissel said a swollen bottle is a telltale sign of the devices.

“If you have any suspicions, give us a call right away. Don’t wait,” he said.

Officers and firefighters are investigating the cases reported thus far.

Two were reported Tuesday.

Paul Henline, 403 E. Spring Ave., told officers he was retrieving mail around 1 a.m. when a bottle with liquid fell out of his mailbox.

It was dark, so he decided to leave the bottle where it fell and wait until daylight to investigate further.

Later, he realized it was a bottle bomb and called police around 3:30 p.m.

At 6:40 p.m., Bonna Patrick, 921 Allison Road, reported she found an exploded bottle bomb in her front yard.

Firefighters collected the bomb remnants and evidence from the scenes and will continue the investigation.

On July 24, firefighters were called to the rear yard of 440 E. Columbus Ave. regarding an exploded bottle bomb.

To report a suspected bottle bomb or to provide information on the current cases, call the police at 599-1010 or firefighters at 599-6168.

Information also can be left on the police department’s 599-TIPS (8477) line; by email to or; or on the police department’s Facebook page.