Alameda, CA - Police believe that mail bombs sent to homes in Alameda and East Palo Alto via the U.S. Postal Service are the work of the same suspect.
Police said that a package was delivered to a police officer's home on Bay Farm Island in Alameda on Friday, Nov. 24.
It was 11 inches long, and too big to fit in the mailbox, so had to be hand-delivered by a mail carrier.
When the officer's wife opened the package, she thought it was suspicious and threw it away from her.
The bomb exploded, and she was injured. The officer's wife suffered burns and ear trauma from the blast, according to KPIX.
The police officer was off-duty at the time. The names of the police officer and his wife have not been released.
It appears that the officer was targeted, although it's not known if the attack was against him personally, or because he was a police officer.
The first bomb believed to be from the bomber was sent to a home in East Palo Alto on Oct. 19.
It was opened by the father who lived there, and he was injured when he opened the package. Police believe that the package was intended for his son, who shares the same name as his father.
"Some of these parts are very rudimentary. They just are wires that when you open a package, they pull on each other and they make contact, and that’s what completes the circuit. Some of them are not very sophisticated, but there’s always some sort of footprint left of how this device was made,” said Jeff Harp, security analyst for KPIX.
Both home-made explosives slipped past the USPS, which has increased security and worked diligently to prevent attacks since the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski sent letter bombs to unsuspecting victims over a 20-year period. Kaczynski is serving life in prison for those attacks.
USPS Inspector Jeff Fitch said that the investigation is being conducted by a number of law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
“It’s very serious, it’s a serious federal offense. We’ve got a whole task force of people working on it,” he said.
Investigators are trying to reconstruct the package so the mailing label and serial number can be read. If that information can be recovered, it will identify the post office where the package was dropped off.
They are also reviewing footage from several post offices that had surveillance cameras at their package drop-off area.
Mail carriers in the areas are concerned.
“I have a book of rules that I follow to the best of my ability, and try to stay safe,” One mail carrier in Alameda said.
Police are asking the public not to open a package that they weren't expecting, or if it looks suspicious.
Inspector Fitch asked the public to call 911 or postal inspectors if they see anything suspicious.