Authorities have arrested 20-year-old Manuel Joyne of Bowie Maryland for allegedly setting off half a dozen so-called “bottle bombs” at half a dozen movie theaters in Maryland and Virginia.
A bottle bomb is exactly what it sounds like: an improvised explosive device that consists of an acid and a base liquid stored inside a sealed container. When the two liquids are combined, it creates pressure that gradually builds up to the point where the plastic bottle can no longer sustain it; thus, creating an explosion that sends bits and pieces of plastic shrapnel and chemicals flying into the air.
Over a two-month period, Joyner allegedly placed bottle bombs at 5 different theaters on 6 occasions, resulting in costly evacuations that prompted local police and fire departments. Authorities captured whom they believe is a “person of interest” on one of the theater’s video surveillance cameras. It’s unknown if the person was Joyner.
Joyner was arrested in his home state of Maryland and charged with the manufacturing, possession and detonation of an explosive device. If convicted, Joyner faces a maximum 25-year prison sentence. A PG County judge had initially set Joyner’s bond for $50 million. At a later hearing, however, the judge denied bail altogether.
Following his arrest in Maryland, Joyner was arrested and charged by Virginia authorities for a string of bottle bombs which occurred in movie theaters throughout Va. One of the incidents occurred on May 18, when the remains of two bottles were discovered, both of which contained acid and metal.
“When we come to these places, you think about being safe and you don’t think about stuff happening like that,” said Bruce Le, of Largo.
In a statement to the press, authorities said that Joyner had admitted to setting off the bottle bombs in all six movie theater incidents. There’s been no word yet on a motive behind the attack or whether or not Joyner has sought legal representation.
“He admitted to his responsibility and involvement in all six incidents,” said Brian Radinsky, PG County fire marshal.
Authorities have also searched Joyner’s home, confiscating evidence which they believe is relevant to the case; however, they did not reveal exactly what was taken during the search. There’s still some belief that Joyner may have been working with an accomplice, so authorities aren’t ruling out the possibility of further arrests being made in connection with the theater bottle bombing incidents.