WATERVILLE — Two 13-year-old boys were arrested after detonating homemade acid bombs in the parking lot of a crowded shopping plaza, according to police.
There were no injuries in the small explosions that took place around 5 p.m. Monday at Waterville Commons plaza, according to Sgt. Daniel Goss of the Waterville Police Department. One of the bombs was set off in a snowbank outside Walmart and another in a trash can outside Game Stop, he said.
“It was just kind of a freaky thing,” said Janice Partridge, co-owner of Cappza’s Pizza, which is near where one of the bombs went off.
Because of the ice storm affecting a large part of the area Monday, Partridge said she and other employees thought the loud noise they heard was ice falling.
“It wasn’t crazy loud, just enough for us to ask, ‘What was that?’” she said. An employee from Sally’s Beauty Supply, which is also in the plaza, came in and told them what happened, she said.
Just minutes before the boys had come into the pizza restaurant and asked for a plastic bottle because they were working on a science project, according to Partridge.
“They said they were doing a science experiment and I didn’t think anything of it. They seemed like two kids that needed some help. It was very weird and we were frustrated just to be involved,” Partridge said.
Because of their ages, the names of the boys are not being released by police. Both are facing a charge of criminal use of explosives and one also faces a charge of reckless conduct, he said.
One boy was taken to the Kennebec County jail and later transferred to Mountain View Youth Development Center in Charleston, according to a corrections officer at the jail. The other boy was released into the custody of his parents, said Goss.
Acid bombs, which are made of household cleaning supplies that are mixed together to create a chemical reaction inside a plastic bottle, can be dangerous if the contents come in contact with skin or are inhaled, said Goss. When the catalytic reaction occurs, it is very loud and the pressure inside the bottle causes the chemicals to spray everywhere, he said.
“It’s very loud. I think people were more upset than afraid. We had a lot of people calling complaints in,” said Goss.
A store manager for Game Stop would not comment. An employee at Sally Beauty Supply also said the store had no comment. A manager at Walmart said Tuesday morning they were not familiar with the situation.
Rachel Ohm— 612-2368