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2nd Man Arrested In ‘Bottle Bomb’ Explosions

WASHINGTON (AP) — A second man has been charged in relation to soda bottles that were blown up inside movie theaters in the Washington area, authorities said Saturday.

Michael Hollingsworth, 23, of Takoma Park, Md., was arrested Friday and charged with two felonies in connection with a “bottle bomb” detonation last month at a theater in Largo, Md., fire officials said.

The first suspect in the bottle bomb explosions was arrested last week. Manuel Joyner Bell, 20, is facing felony charges in both Maryland and Virginia for six explosions at five movie theaters this spring. Authorities said Joyner Bell confessed to detonating bottle bombs, and the new arrest was the first indication that authorities believe he had an accomplice.

Investigators suspect that Hollingsworth was Joyner Bell’s accomplice in all six of the incidents, said Mark Brady, a Prince George’s County, Maryland, fire department spokesman. Hollingsworth could face additional charges in other jurisdictions, Brady said.

A bottle bomb is a crude device that’s made by combining an acid and a base inside a sealed plastic bottle, causing it to explode. It can be made with household products such as baking soda and vinegar. No one was injured in the movie theater explosions, but authorities have said people could have been hurt by flying plastic, by the acid inside or during the panic that ensued after the explosions.

Investigators developed Hollingsworth as a suspect after Joyner Bell was arrested, Brady said Saturday. While Joyner Bell was charged in Maryland with detonating an explosive device, Hollingsworth was not, but he was charged with manufacture and possession of such a device, as well as conspiracy.

“Our arrest today is more of an accessory, a conspirator,” Brady said. “He was the wheel man or the driver for the No. 1 suspect.”

A man who answered the phone at the home of Hollingsworth’s mother on Saturday morning said she was not available. Hollingsworth’s grandfather declined to comment.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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