Police Investigate Nine Firebombings in City

… Incidents spread out; no suspect in custody …


By Peter Hermann, The Baltimore Sun

2:08 PM EDT, September 29, 2011

Baltimore police are searching for people who in the past three weeks have thrown nine Molotov cocktails at or into homes throughout the city, causing no injuries and little damage, but raising concerns from law enforcement.

“It’s not necessarily limited to a certain section of the city,” said police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. “The pattern appears to be very random.”

In some cases, police said the Molotov cocktails, which authorities declined to describe, were thrown through windows of houses and landed in first-floor rooms. In other cases, the explosive devices hit an outside wall.

Authorities urged anyone with information to call 911, particularly if they notice a person transporting gasoline in a non-approved container, or in glass bottles.

Kevin Cartwright, a spokesman for the Baltimore Fire Department, called the devices dangerous. “It takes less than a minute for a room to become fully involved” in fire, he said.

Police held a news conference Thursday afternoon and pleaded for the public’s help. Maj. Clifton McWhite, head of the special operations section, said investigators have no descriptions of any suspects and are scanning surveillance video to see if any leads turn up. The attacks occurred between 9 p.m and 5 a.m.

McWhite said detectives have even gone to the Internet and have searched YouTube to look for clues. “We came up with nothing,” he said.

Police said they do not believe that one person is responsible for all nine attacks. “Given the geography, that seems unlikely,” Guglielmi said. But police said they aren’t sure if one group is responsible, whether copycats are involved or if the number of incidents is a coincidence.

The latest firebombing occurred Wednesday in the 3700 block of Yosemite Ave., near Ashburton in Northwest Baltimore. Police said a firebomb was thrown on each of the three previous nights — on Asquith Street in East Baltimore, Loyola Northway in North Baltimore and North Longwood Avenue in Northwest Baltimore.

Police said there are no common traits among the victims.


Copyright © 2011, The Baltimore Sun

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