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LR Bomb Squad Safely Disarms Suspected Pipe Bomb

Little Rock firefighters warn against building explosives at home.
Garland County Sheriff's deputies report they called out the bomb squad after finding a teenager with a makeshift explosive in his car.

Authorities arrested 18-year-old Tanner Root after finding what appeared to be a pipe bomb in his tool box this morning.

Firefighters say the device had shrapnel, a fuse and propellant, more serious ingredients than they see in other bombs created by kids learning how to make makeshift bombs online, but they're all dangerous.

A YouTube search of how to make a bomb yields plenty of links but most show a one second error message. Fire Captain Edwin Wolfe says, somehow some kids still find a way.

"Sometimes the internet ideas are misleading," says Captain Wolfe. "They will lead you down the path, what you may mix up in your home may be designed to hurt or maim someone trying to build a device."

He says his crew is called out roughly 100 times a year and numbers often go up after national tragedies like the Boston Marathon bombing.

Captain Wolfe says, "We had more people calling us out to work events for them. After 9/11 we saw a spike in calls."

And while some are merely suspicious but non-threatening bags, he adds "Most of the time it's going to be something like a pipe bomb kids made on the internet, mom or dad found it and said it's not safe and called us."

They often use a robot to safely disarm makeshift devices but Monday a squad member was charged with getting up close to a suspected pipe bomb in Garland County, wearing roughly 90 pounds of protective gear.

"With the heat like it is today having to put someone in that suit, yeah it's dangerous," he adds.

Captain Wolfe says the real threat comes from people experimenting with explosives.

"That kind of mindset is going to get someone hurt or killed. You can't make explosives without eventually having an accident," says Captain Wolfe.

The suspect in this case, Tanner Root, is facing charges of Criminal Acts Involving explosives and DWI among other charges.

The fire department is urging parents to pay attention to what web sites their kids visit and call police if they see anything suspicious.
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