Teens turn Internet info into napalm and torch mailboxes
A youth who allegedly learned how to make napalm bombs from information on the Internet is facing charges on suspicion that he torched several mailboxes and a Port-O-Potty in the El Jebel area, according to police.
Eagle County deputies said good detective work pointed them in the direction of a 16-year-old Missouri Heights resident as the suspect.
The industriousness of the lad and an alleged accomplice kept deputies in Eagle and Garfield counties hopping Monday night and Tuesday morning, according to Eagle County Deputy Dave Lawson.
“As soon as the officers responded to one call, another report would come in,” he said.
The initial call was a report of a mailbox on fire 1 mile up Upper Cattle Creek Road from El Jebel at about 8:30 p.m. Monday. Twenty minutes later, a second mailbox was reported on fire about 2 miles up the same road, according to Lawson.
At 11:14 p.m., the Port-O-Potty at the El Jebel baseball field was “completely engulfed in flames,” said Lawson.
About an hour later, the deputy on duty stopped a speeding car on Upper Cattle Creek Road. The two occupants, a 16-year-old male and a 17-year-old male, denied any knowledge of the arson incidents and were released, Lawson said.
Twenty minutes later, another mailbox was reported in flames on Fender Lane, just off Upper Cattle Creek Road, and at 1:08 a.m. Tuesday, another mailbox on Fender Lane was hit.
The deputy visited the Missouri Heights home of one of the boys stopped earlier in the car and noticed a burned rag on the driveway. The rag was seized as potential evidence, according to Lawson.
The kids, who were staying alone while the parents of one of them were on vacation in Florida, again denied any knowledge of the incidents.
The following morning, one of the arson victims reported to deputies that he found an unburned device in his mailbox. Lawson investigated and discovered that a mixture of gas and Styrofoam had been turned into a gelatin-like substance within a container. A piece of a rag was used for the wick and a burning cigarette was placed to start the rag on fire, which would then ignite the mixture.
Lawson said the information passed on to him by the other deputy included a mention of the burned rag he found in the driveway. That rag matched the fragment Lawson found being used as a wick.
It turned out that three mailboxes had also been torched and one unburned device was found in Garfield County on the extension of Fender Lane.
Lawson recontacted the Missouri Heights youth, received permission from the boy’s parents to question him and allegedly received a confession.
“The kid got a napalm recipe off the Internet,” said Lawson. “He said he got it off the Internet at school.”
The boy wasn’t taken into custody. His mother was cutting short her vacation and flying home Wednesday, according to Lawson.
The boy could face charges of arson, using explosive devices and violating a fire ban, Lawson said. “If it hadn’t rained the last two days, we would have had a fire,” he said.
The deputy has also contacted postal officials to see if they want to pursue federal charges for the destruction of mailboxes.
The alleged accomplice used to live in the area but now resides in Boulder. “The 17-year-old denies all activity,” said Lawson.
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