Two pipe bombs explode at Florida shopping mall

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Cops were on the lookout for a man seen fleeing a Florida mall after a pair of pipe bombs ignited in an employee hallway just before closing Sunday evening, according to local reports.

Lake Wales firefighters responded to the mall around 5:30 p.m.

"Initial reports of pipe bombs, IEDs, explosions or detonations of any kind at Eagle Ridge Mall were incorrect, as were reports that any additional risky materials were found during a thorough law enforcement search of mall property", mall officials said.

A backpack was also found near the detonated devices, but no other devices were found inside. WFLA reported that the flares were inside PVC pipes and wrapped in tape.

It was unclear if the bombs were ignited or exploded.

Authorities in Florida are looking for a suspect they believe tried to blow up a mall in Lake Wales.


Interviewing witnesses, police learned that a white, middle-aged, heavyset man in a gray shirt and gray hat was spotted running from the mall around the time the device went off. Investigators in two counties and federal officials were soon put on the case. It says two signal flares "triggered a fire alarm".

The explosions occurred in a service corridor near a JCPenney store, and the mall was evacuated as a safety precaution.

He added: "We're definitely not calling it terrorism at this time, but it's up to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has been notified".

Another suspicious device was found at a movie theater near the mall, but the state's fire marshals determined it was harmless.

"When this started, my son was actually working here at this mall".

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