Austin package bombs draw parallels to the ‘Unabomber'

AUSTIN (KXAN) — - The bomber who police believe packaged and planted three bombs on home porches is not amateur according to a “parcel bomb” expert.

Package bombs explode on a monthly basis across the world but most of it spurs from political groups in Europe and South America. Less so in the United States. The ATF investigated around 700 explosions in 2016 — the latest information available — but only three were hand placed inside boxes.

“Usually there’s a very specific target and there’s some type of criminal motivation behind it,” said Ben West, who’s spent the last 10 years studying parcel bombs as a security analyst for Stratfor. He says Americans have been mostly spared large-scale parcel bombings since the “Unabomber.”

From the mid-70s to the ’90s, Ted Kaczynski sent more than a dozen bombs, killing 3 and injuring more than 20. West says package bombs usually target individual people and are built to kill or maim, not to bring down a structure. He says whoever is making the Austin bombs aren’t amateurs.

“Because you can make a bomb then place it in a package and then rig it to explode at a specific time. So no, it’s not easy to do,” said West.

The vast majority of package bombs don’t go off as intended, he says, so the fact that each bomb has killed or hurt someone is alarming.

“That shows that the person who’s doing this, they know what they’re doing and they’ve probably practiced a lot,” said West.

West says the bomb 10 days ago was probably a test run for more to come.

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