Three church bombs in Las Cruces, New Mexico have left police stumped on a motive and still searching for clues. Two homemade bombs exploded during Sunday morning services at Baptist and Catholic churches in the town two weeks ago. Las Cruces is the second largest city in the state. A third church bomb was found near a leaking sprinkler at a Presbyterian church before it could be detonated.
Both local and federal law enforcement officers are still searching for a church bombs motive and potential suspects. The only link found between the churches is that they are all Christian houses of worship. Grainy footage from a surveillance camera reportedly appears to show a young man in work boots and shorts working near the Calvary Baptist Church parking lot just before the bomb exploded. The sighting reportedly offered police investigators some leads in the three church bombs case, but has not yet ushered in any concrete leads in the case.
“We’re still connecting the dots,” Las Cruces Police Chief Jaime Montoya, said.
New Mexico law enforcement officers and their federal counterparts are currently “casting a broad net” and questioning all known area political activists, church neighbors, and members of the congregation.
“We continue to pursue any lead as quickly as it comes in,” FBI Chief Division Council Stephen Marshall, said. “They’ve been steaming in steadily. Yesterday, we did a sweep of all the [Las Cruces] churches looking for any devices that had not yet detonated and fortunately that sweep was met with negative results but we will continue to pursue every lead until we find the person responsible.”
No one was injured when the church bombs exploded. Bomb-sniffing K9 officers inspected all trash cans, mailboxes, and virtually any crevice where another bomb or evidence could have been left, but found nothing.
Excerpt from a Las Cruces Police Department message which accompanied the surveillance camera footage on the law enforcement agency’s Facebook page:
“Investigators looking into Sunday morning’s detonation of explosive devices outside two Las Cruces churches are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying a man seen on surveillance video near Calvary Baptist Church, and the FBI is now offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information that helps solve the case. The FBI’s reward of up to $20,000 is for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for placing the two devices. The man recorded on surveillance video was seen walking to and from Calvary Baptist Church around the time of the explosion there last Sunday. He was wearing plaid shorts and a blue, short-sleeve T-shirt shirt.”
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