Leetonia police believe juveniles responsible for bottle bombs

LEETONIA – Police are looking at a group of juveniles as the culprits in bottle bombs discovered in the village Wednesday and Thursday and warning residents to be on the lookout for suspicious bottles.

Sgt. Rick Dattilio said police are investigating a group of juveniles, headed by a 10-year-old, after responding to bottle bombs Thursday afternoon in the 300 block of Columbia Street. Dattilio had also found an unexploded bottle on Spruce Street Wednesday night that he said a first-grader had been carrying in his pocket while riding his bicycle.

The bottle recovered Thursday afternoon had not exploded and was found by a woman at the home, Dattilio said. She was told to put it down and leave the area while the fire department responded.

Once the investigation is complete it will be turned over to the police chief for possible charges, Dattilio said.

“We’re not taking this lightly,” Dattilio noted. “Someone could be really hurt before all is said and done, and we want to prevent that.”

The bottles, such as the 16-ounce water bottle recovered Wednesday night, are being filled with chemicals that are reacting when mixed with other elements. If one explodes while someone is holding it, that person could be severely injured, Dattilio said.

“If you breathe in the fumes when it goes off, it could kill your lungs. If it gets in your eyes, you’ll be blinded … if you’re not killed,” he said.

Residents are being warned to avoid suspicious bottles and call the police department immediately if one is found.