'MacGyver bombs' found outside Beaufort Co. homes

BEAUFORT COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Investigators are on the lookout for the people responsible for detonating plastic bottle bombs, also known as "MacGyver bombs," outside five Beaufort County homes in the last week.

Authorities say the incidents happened at homes on Ratel Drive, Roosevelt Avenue, Satilla Boulevard and Cherry Boulevard.

In each incident, the victims told investigators they heard a loud explosion similar to a gunshot outside their homes. The victims then found pieces of a plastic bottle filled with a gray liquid on their yard.

The sheriff's office says the bottle bombs also known as "mailbox bombs," "acid bombs," "Drano bombs," "works bombs," "pressure bombs," and "MacGyver bombs" are homemade explosives made with chemicals often found in homes.

According to investigators, the chemical reaction in the plastic bottles causes a buildup of "extremely volatile gases" which detonate with only the slightest movement.

A press release by the sheriff's office states the explosion from a bottle bomb is powerful enough to sever fingers and limbs, cause second- and third-degree chemical burns, respiratory injury, blindness, hearing loss and death.

If you have any information you are asked to call the Crime Stoppers at 1-888-274-6372 or text the word TIPSC with a message to CRIMES.

The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office is also encouraging citizens to be cautious of any plastic or glass bottles found.

Authorities released the following information Friday afternoon:

Some signs to look for: bottles may appear to be slightly swollen or bulging, or show signs of melting. They will have a small amount of liquid in them that could easily be mistaken for soda. They often contain pieces of aluminum foil and/or other small metal objects such as nails or ball bearings that become dangerous shrapnel upon explosion.

These devices should not be moved or handled by anyone other than professionals trained in explosive ordnance disposal. If a device of this nature is located, immediately isolate the area, keep back a minimum of 200 feet, and notify law enforcement.

While these devices are often constructed by teens who view them as "harmless fun," they are extremely hazardous. The unstable, unpredictable nature of such a device makes them potentially deadly not only to the victim who stumbles upon it, but also to the person who creates it. Constructing, distributing, and/or detonating these devices can lead to felony charges.

Copyright 2013 WCSC. All rights reserved.