ATF Report Looks at 1998 Louisa Bombings - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

ATF Report Looks at 1998 Louisa Bombings

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The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms is trying to learn from two 1998 bombing incidents in Louisa County that left three people injured.

Victim triggered improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, take people by surprise. Many times it just looks like an ordinary object left on the street, which suddenly explodes. The federal report on the psychology behind these bombs, released this year, says the bomber is counting on the victims' curiosity or greed for a successful attack.

In Mineral, John Thompson discovered a tackle box in his driveway. When he and his father tried to open the box, it exploded, injuring both of them. Five miles away in Louisa, Sabrina Brewer picked up a flashlight in a pizza hut parking lot. She tested the flashlight, flipping the on/off switch. The bomb exploded and she was seriously injured.

The report says these cases provide insight to the bomber's mind. 

University of Virginia psychologist Angeline Lillard said, "It's possible that what was going on in these situations is the person who developed the bomb imagined what it would be like for somebody else to find this and imagined that they would respond the way that he would."

The Louisa County bombs were created by the same person, who has since been tried and convicted. Neither of the bombs used in the study used gift wrap or a note to entice victims, Which led to the conclusion that the bomber was relying on the victims' curiosity or greed for a successful attack.

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