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Blast empties 2 Foothills Mall stores

Effect of device outside bookstore confined to trash can; 2nd incident in week

An explosion outside a Barnes & Noble Booksellers closed two stores at Foothills Mall and part of the parking lot Thursday night.

The explosion was the second of its kind in one week, prompting suspicion that someone is targeting the mall, officials said.

Thursday’s explosion was heard at 5:46 p.m. by patrons and security personnel outside the mall, 7325 N. La Cholla Blvd., at the corner of Ina Road.

A homemade chemical device was found inside a garbage can near the east entrance to Barnes & Noble, said Pima County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad Sgt. Chris Rogers.

The bookstore and Famous Footwear were closed for about two hours. The rest of the mall remained open, said Northwest Fire District Capt. Adam Goldberg. No one was injured, and the bomb’s blast was confined to the concrete garbage can, he said.

The Sheriff’s Department is investigating what Rogers called a “felony crime.”

“Whoever did this needs to be aware that oftentimes this is thought of as a hoax, and he is underestimating the consequences of what can happen,” Rogers said.

While it is too early in the investigation to directly link Thursday’s incident to an incident Saturday, Rogers said the department is investigating both.

Goldberg said Saturday’s explosion was inside the mall in a garbage can near KB Toys. He did not know how close the toy store is to the bookstore.

He said security personnel saw mist or smoke after the explosion, but no one in the area seemed to suffer any ill effects.

Rogers said the bomb squad has never investigated an explosion at the mall before, but it has seen the same type of bomb used in other incidents. He said it is similar to bombs used by teens to blow up mailboxes. He declined to give specifics.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or 88-CRIME.

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