WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) - Westfield police say explosive devices have damaged or destroyed at least four mailboxes in the last several days.
Police described the home-made explosives as "over pressure devices," commonly seen in the form of a sealed 2-liter bottle containing common household cleaners and aluminum foil.
The combined ingredients create a chemical reaction that can cause the bottle to explode.
"The remains of the devices can include chemicals and fumes that can cause injury to the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract," said Westfield Police Sergeant Robert Dine.
Dwight Watkins considers himself lucky. He wasn't injured, but his mailbox was destroyed. He drove home Saturday night to find what was left lying in the roadway.
"I didn't know what kind of explosive happened, but I could tell it was from the inside out," Watkins said. "It blew the back out of it and the door off and it just opened it up."
Dine said the greatest danger is if the over pressure device fails to explode, and is found by an unsuspecting person.
"Picking up an unexploded device could agitate the chemicals, causing the bottle to explode in their hands," he said. "(It) could cause face damage, respiratory problems, you could lose an appendage – they're pretty serious."
"It's frightening to have a bunch of young children who go out and get the mail," said Liz VanDyke, a neighbor. "I'm hoping we find out who's doing it and get to the bottom of it really quickly so no one gets harmed."
Police say do not pick up, kick, touch, or disturb any bottle filled with unknown fluids or objects. Instead, call 911.
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