Off-duty officer helps Westfield police crack mailbox bombings

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WESTFIELD – An observant off-duty police officer helped investigators crack a string of mailbox bombings in Westfield.

Police have charged four high school students accused of setting off homemade bombs in area neighborhoods. The bombs, which police referred to as “overpressure devices” or “Works Bombs,” damaged several mailboxes.

No one was injured.

Overpressure devices are often sealed two-liter bottles with household cleaners and aluminum foil inside. The combined ingredients create a chemical reaction that can cause the bottle to explode.

On Jan. 18, off-duty Sheridan Police Chief Bill Curl saw several people buying materials needed to make such devices at Walmart. Curl contacted Westfield police after realizing what he’d seen at the store. Investigators then looked at security footage to identify the people who bought the materials.

After interviewing the suspects, detectives met with prosecutors to determine the charges against the teens, who all face misdemeanors.

Facing charges are:

John R. Rogers, 18, Westfield: five counts of Using an Overpressure Device (Class A Misdemeanor) and five counts of Criminal Mischief (Class B Misdemeanor)

Maxwell R. Jackson, 18, Brownsburg: five counts of Using an Overpressure Device(Class A Misdemeanor) and five counts of Criminal Mischief (Class B Misdemeanor)

Grant J. Plummer, 18, Westfield: five counts of Using an Over Pressure Device (Class A Misdemeanor) and five counts of Criminal Mischief (Class B Misdemeanor)

Zachary A. Loftalian, 18, Westfield: five counts of Using an Over Pressure Device (Class A Misdemeanor) and five counts of Criminal Mischief (Class B Misdemeanor)

All four have been issued a summons to appear in court on Feb. 20.

Related story:

Westfield police investigate string of mailbox explosions

10 comments

  • Ckf

    I will never understand why the media gives specifics about how to make the bombs so that all other delinquents can do the same!

    • FGH

      These kids are not delinquents, just students that messed up thinking they were having a good time. Everyone makes mistakes, don't be so judgmental

  • Brandon

    It's not a new process Ckf. I did this when I was in HS 15 years ago and I never read about it from a news article. lol

  • Kathie

    I am a mail carrier…this angers me that they probably thought it was just a prank…people could have been injured…I think about me be ready to open one of those mailboxes just as it exploded and had parts of the mailbox (metal, wood) embedded into my face, arms, eyes!

  • kim tomina

    This was scary I live in Westfield and my kids love getting the mail its almost a race to them but I wouldnt let them after I saw this in fact I was scared to get my mail. I think if parents would crack down on there kids maybe we wouldnt have so many issues. I have a child in the high school, middle and interm plus a 4 year old and my kids are not allowed to run around doing whatever they want no matter how mad it makes them.

  • Abathar

    These devices are usually more deadly to the makers than anyone else, you have to move fast or it goes off in your hand.

    Had one done that "Lefty" could be used as a good example to make a PSA commercial for other young budding idiots out there on why its not a smart thing to do.

  • DRT52

    I had always heard them called "MacGyver bombs". I believe he made one on the TV show and they started showing up all over. If you Google it, there are several sites that give you instructions.

  • FTK

    I've heard a lot of comments about what "good police work" this was from Bill Curl. Is it not the duty of the police department to protect the citizens they serve? If Bill Curl witnessed four high school kids buying this stuff, why didn't he say something right then in there? I say this was bad police work if you ask me.

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