Police: Package bomb explodes when man opens it in kitchen

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A bomb stuffed inside a padded envelope exploded in a downtown apartment early Tuesday when a man opened the package, apparently thinking it contained medicine, police said. The man was hospitalized with hand and chest injuries.

Federal agents and the city’s bomb squad were investigating the pre-dawn blast, which injured a man in his 60s. Authorities said the man, whose name wasn’t released, had arrived home at around 4 a.m. after being out of town and was opening his mail.

Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan said the envelope contained shrapnel and caused “substantial damage” to appliances in the kitchen. The man’s most serious injuries involved his left hand.

The package was “target specific,” police Commissioner Richard Ross said. Authorities don’t believe the envelope was sent in the mail because it had an old barcode on it, he said.

Authorities hadn’t seen that type of explosive device in Philadelphia before, Sullivan said, but they’re “familiar with it in other areas of the world.”

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives special agent Sam Rabadi said the device is being analyzed a laboratory.

The victim was hospitalized in stable condition after surgery.

He opened the package near the stove in the kitchen of the apartment, which he shares with a roommate, leading police to initially believe the blast may have been an accidental explosion caused by an inhaler getting too close to heat.

Investigators were running down a number of leads but had no motive, Rabadi said.

“We are going to look at every possible motive that comes across our radar,” he said. Aly King and Brian Muldoon live two doors down from the townhouse where the blast happened and said they didn’t hear any explosion but their dog woke up around 3:45 a.m.

King said she let her puppy out in the backyard and that’s when she heard firefighters in the alley, shuffling garbage cans, and saw emergency vehicles filling the street. They said they had never met the victim.

“It’s kind of a peculiar time of day to open a package, at 4 a.m.,” Muldoon said.

Ten residents were evacuated from nearby apartments but were allowed to return after the bomb squad cleared other packages.

The man’s roommate told police that the man often receives medical inhalers in the mail. He was home at the time of the blast but was uninjured.