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Authorities Urge Caution After Chemical Bombs Appear In Mailboxes

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By Jessica Gould

Safety authorities in Fairfax County are urging residents to look out for homemade chemical bombs in their mailboxes and front yards.

Great Falls resident Lee-Alison Sibley was returning home from lunch with her husband on Father’s Day when she stopped to clear out some garbage that had been placed in her mailbox.

"I reached into the mailbox to pull out the garbage and one thing I saw was a plastic bottle filled with some kind of liquid," she says. "As soon as I touched the bottle it started to burn and smoke."

As it turns out, the 'garbage' was actually a partially-exploded device – one of at least eight residents have discovered since May.

In published reports, Fairfax officials say no one has been seriously injured by the homemade explosives. But Sibley says the bomb did burn her finger.

"It swelled to twice its size and turned a lovely purplish black," she says.

Sibley says neighbors should keep an eye out for the devices.

And if they see something that looks like garbage in their mailbox, don’t touch it. Call 911, she says, and the police will take it from there.

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