A bomb that went off in a bathroom in a Evanston Target store wasn’t some aggressive protest about the controversial transgender policy about restrooms. A middle-aged woman was taken into custody in connection with the explosion and preliminary investigation reveals it might have been due to a chemical reaction involved in cooking drugs that went wrong.
A 44-year-old, who has been described by the police as a person of interest, has been taken into custody in connection with the bomb explosion that took place in the women’s bathroom at a Target store in Evanston, Illinois. While many were quick to link the rather puny explosion to the highly controversial change that Target brought about its bathroom policy, the facts of the case couldn’t be further apart.
According to Patch, the explosion that occurred inside the woman’s restroom was most likely the result of a person attempting to produce a synthetic drug to get high, but instead got an explosion, perhaps due to incorrect ingredients or improper procedure. The local police have arrested a woman, identified as Heidi Schmidt, in connection with the explosion.
Earlier this year, Target managed to stir an intense nationwide debate by enacting a new policy about their bathrooms. Essentially, the discount retailer allowed customers to use whichever bathroom their gender identity deemed fit. In other words, the policy, largely aimed at the inclusion of transgender people, allowed them to use the bathroom of their choice. Target was clearly targeting the so-called bathroom laws that mandate men and women must use restrooms that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificates.
Needless to say, the policy has drawn the ire and wrath of many concerned citizens who feel sexual predators could easily abuse the Target’s bathroom policy and that puts women and young girls in danger because “a man can simply say he ‘feels like a woman today’ and enter the women’s restroom,” reported USA Today. According to experts, Target has severely suffered financially due to the policy.
The nationwide debate has resulted in multiple non-violent incidents wherein people have vocally protested against the bathroom policy. However, the explosion that took place at 4:08 p.m. Wednesday at the store at the 2200 block of Howard Street seemed to imply a rather violent way to protest. Fortunately, no one was inside the women’s bathroom, and the explosion was quite small, confirmed Commander Joe Dugan.
Early indications are that a plastic bottle was used but no projectiles like nails or tacks were inside it, reported Fox News. However, after the preliminary examination of the evidence gathered from the site and looking at the store security camera video, it becomes clear that the explosion wasn’t meant to protest or hurt anybody, shared the police through a statement.
“There is no factual evidence that was uncovered during this investigation that points toward this incident being related to any policies of the Target store or a hate crime.”
While the police won’t elaborate, they did imply the woman was most likely trying to “cook” drugs by confirming they recovered items that are “commonly combined in a method to produce a chemical high, but during the mixture process can become volatile and explode.”
The police confirmed the presence of Schmidt in the bathroom by going through the video footage and witness accounts. Interestingly, the woman didn’t injure herself in the process and left the rather embarrassing scene immediately. She is currently held on charges of aggravated arson and one count of unlawful possession of an explosive or incendiary device. The bail has been set at $250,000, reported Chicago Tribune. Incidentally, she is also facing a previous $1,000 arrest warrant for retail theft out of Branch 23 courtroom at the Grand Central police district.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]