Two Lakeland homeowners, and potentially several more, are fortunate they weren't seriously hurt after teenagers placed acid bombs outside their homes, Lakeland police said Wednesday.
Andy Stone said he heard several loud knocks on the door of his Easton Drive house late Tuesday night, and before he opened the door, heard something much more concerning.
"At that moment there was a loud bang," Stone said. "It sounded like a bomb. A small bomb."
Stone opened the door and saw the remnants of what police said was an acid bomb made mostly from toilet bowl cleaner in a plastic bottle. He chased after the person he saw running through his yard, away from the explosion, but wasn't able to catch him.
"I was very thankful that I was not outside during the occurrence of the blast, and I thank God for that, quite frankly," he said.
Police said Stone wasn't the only potential victim; another bomb went off in a mailbox on Oakland Avenue. Detectives found a bag nearby with nine more bombs ready to go.
Lakeland Police Sgt. Gary Gross said two teenagers had planned to leave the explosives outside people's homes as pranks.
"It's not a prank," Gross added. "Anytime you're mixing chemicals, and you're making something that's going to destruct and blow up and cause harm, that's felony."
"[The bombs] can cause burns to the individual. They can also cause respiratory damage," said John McGrath, with the Lakeland Fire Department, which is now handling the investigation. "When you're looking at a soda bottle lying on the ground, it looks very innocent. Nothing's really happening until the point of explosion."
Late Wednesday afternoon, investigators called Stone to tell him how destructive the bombs could have been.
"It could have definitely hurt me, I'm sure," Stone said. "I certainly hope that [those responsible] will totally rethink their actions, never do this again."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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