Arrests Made In Acidic ‘Bottle Bomb’ Case

Two arrests have been made in a case involving bottle bomb attacks at several theaters.

A bottle bomb is usually a home-made device that combines acid and a base within a sealed plastic bottle. The reaction of the ingredients causes an explosion to occur that can throw acid and shrapnel up to 20 or even 30 feet away. Bottle bombs can be made with typical household products easily found in someone’s pantry or fridge.

According to officials tied in with this case, the bottle bombs used in the attacks were not only filled with acid, they held metal shavings as well.

Due to quick action from customers and employees of the affected theaters no one was hurt in any of the explosions. Considering the nature and contents of the bottle bombs, there’s no doubt that the incidents could have easily been devastating.

There were six bottle bomb attacks that took place in five theaters throughout Maryland and Virginia

Manuel Joyner Bell, 20, the first suspect, was arrested on June 1. Police were able to follow an online trail to him. Joyner was noted as the only person to use Fandango.com in order to purchase tickets to all six shows that were targets for the bottle bombs.

Joyner Bell was charged with felony use or manufacture of a destructive device and misdemeanor reckless endangerment in relation to the March 8 bottle bomb incident in Maryland. Five other felony charges joined the first and he could wind up spending up to 25 years in prison. He was held on a $50 million bond at first, but by Monday he was being held without bond.

After Joyner Bell confessed to detonating the bottle bombs, investigators were led to believe that he had a driver accomplice.

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Michael Hollingsworth, 23, was arrested Friday and charged with manufacture/possession/distribution of a destructive device as well as destructive device conspiracy.

As of Saturday morning, it seemed that Hollingsworth was only being charged with his involvement in the May 24 bottle bomb attack in Maryland. However, Mark Brady, a Maryland fire department spokesman, stated that the suspect could be facing additional charges in other jurisdictions.

“Our arrest today is more of an accessory, a conspirator,” Brady said. “He was the wheel man or the driver for the No. 1 suspect.”

Although there seems to be sufficient evidence against both suspects in the case, authorities are still unclear as to what their relationship is.

[ Image courtesy of Prince George County Fire Department and Baltimore Sun ]