HUBBARD TOWNSHIP – Police continue to hunt Tuesday for a woman who may have tried to break into a home Monday where someone had placed explosive devices.
Police do not believe the woman or a suspected male accomplice planted the explosive devices, said Hubbard Township police Chief Greg Tarr, who declined to identify either suspect.
"We've dealt with this woman before and she has a drug history,'' Tarr said. "But we don't consider her to be dangerous.''
Tarr declined to identify the woman or a suspected male accomplice. Police responded Monday to a report of a suspected break-in at a Hubbard-Bedford Road home in Hubbard Township. The vacant house was owned by Charles "Chucky" Shearer, who died about a month ago, Tarr said.
After arriving at the scene, police took a man into custody on suspicion of trespassing and attempting to steal a truck at the residence.
Police found one explosive device outside the home. A family member gave police permission to search inside the house, where they found over 100 other explosive devices, Tarr said. Police closed Hubbard-Bedford Road for several hours during the investigation.
The Youngstown police Bomb Squad, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were called to investigate the explosives.
Two of the larger explosive devices were detonated at the site. The ATF took possession of the remaining devices.
"They put a hole in the ground,'' Tarr said. "They were pretty powerful.''
ATF determined the devices were homemade and had fuses inserted into them, he said. X-ray examinations on a sample batch of the devices found they didn't contain shrapnel, debris such as nails and screws, designed to injure people near the explosion.
"If they had found shrapnel that would have changed things dramatically,'' Tarr said.
The ATF told police the bombs contained black powder – which is less powerful than gunpowder.
Black powder is often used in older-style guns such as flintlocks. Shearer was a gun enthusiast and hunter, and Tarr said his neighbors reported routinely hearing loud bangs from outside his house.
"We think it was a coincidence that the two people involved in this case were at a home with these kind of devices,'' he said. "We don't think they had a clue that this was inside the house.''
A camper at the home was stolen and police are seeking the woman in connection with that theft, Tarr said.
He said police were using confidential sources to determine the woman's whereabouts.
Tarr said he would release the woman's identity by Wednesday, if she hasn't already been taken into custody, to seek public assistance.