Pipe bombs put in Calif. mailboxes

At least eight pipe bombs have been found over the past week and a half in mailboxes and near homes in this rural community about 30 miles northeast of San Francisco. Five of the homemade devices exploded.

WHILE NO ONE was injured and the bombs did not appear to be rigged to go off when a mailbox was opened, Solano County Sheriff Gary Stanton described the incidents as “domestic terrorism.”

Sheriff’s Department spokesman Keith Bloomfield said Monday that officials, working with state and federal law enforcement agencies, had identified at least two suspects and could make an arrest this week. He refused to elaborate or speculate on a possible motive.

“The evidence in a couple of these incidents gets blown up into a hundred little pieces. It takes time to put all the evidence back together,” he said.

The attacks began the first weekend of November when pipe bombs destroyed five mailboxes in Suisun City, a town of about 26,000.

The explosions were a reminder of a case in 2002 when a college student from Minnesota was arrested for allegedly planting 18 pipe bombs and rambling anti-government notes in rural mailboxes across the Midwest. Six people were injured when the bombs exploded.

Luke Helder, 22, who is charged with two federal counts involving explosives, allegedly told authorities he was trying to create a giant “smiley face.” He has been undergoing psychiatric treatment in a federal prison hospital and has not gone to trial.

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