Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Dangerous attacks. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) joins city police investigating a series of fire bombings in Northwest Baltimore targeting homes at random.
Mike Hellgren has details of the frightening attacks that have stumped authorities.
They think most of them are related simply because of geography, but have little to go on. And now, city police are bringing in the muscle of the federal government, along with a tip line and a reward.
Police fear the molotov cocktails could spark a major fire. They’re primarily made using liquor bottles and thrown at first-floor windows of homes largely in Northwest Baltimore. Thirteen houses have been targeted since September.
Police have looked at YouTube to see if anyone is doing these pranks for fame, but found nothing.
“It is such a slippery slope that one of these items could catch fire, and in minutes, engulf an entire house, and we are not playing around, to be frank,” Anthony Guglielmi, spokesman for the Baltimore City Police Department, said.
The fire bombings have all happened in the dead of night when people are sleeping. And while they haven’t caused major damage, they have been terrifying.
“I woke up to my mom screaming my name, and I grabbed my 9-month-old son and went to my door, and my whole window and my dining room was completely on fire,” Megan Doyle, a fire bomb victim, said.
Now, investigators have a new 24/7 tip line and are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Police are taking these new steps because they’re so perplexed by these cases. They’ve been investigating them for weeks but have few leads. They do not believe these are gang-related and have checked surveillance cameras, with no luck.
“There seems to be some connection between some of the 13, maybe not necessarily all of them,” Special Agent Dave Cheplack of the ATF said.
They hope the power of the Feds will help them crack this mystery before someone gets seriously hurt.
Police refused to give details on the molotov cocktails, including what flammable liquid was used and how complex they were, saying it’s tough to get a handle on who’s doing this.
The new, dedicated tip line is 1-888-ATF-FIRE. It is staffed around the clock.