Investigators are looking into the possibility that Thursday's bombing of a deputy sheriff's patrol car may be related to a pipe bomb found near an Orem police officer's home in February.
On Feb. 10, an unidentified Orem police officer found an unexploded pipe bomb in front of his home lying near his marked patrol car. "The device was found in the street near the car, not underneath it," said Orem police spokesman Gerald Nielsen.Like the bomb that caused $10,000 damage to Salt Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Bill Bill's new patrol car Thursday, the bomb found in the northwest Orem neighborhood was about 6 inches long, had a fuse and was filled with gun powder.
Nielsen said the end of the fuse was blackened, indicating that someone had tried to light it. "It would have been capable of causing a substantial amount of damage," he said.
But Orem investigators aren't sure if the police car was targeted or if the bomb was accidentally left in the street. "We don't know if someone lit it and threw it, or it may have just been dropped there."
Nielsen said detectives do not believe that bomb is related to a series of recent pipe bomb explosions in Utah County at a library, a church and an office building. Thursday, police arrested a man they believe is responsible for planting those three bombs.
The Orem detective was scheduled to speak with Salt Lake County investigators sometime Friday to discuss the similarities in the cases.
In Thursday's incident, the suspect left a note near the bombed vehicle threatening police officers and warning that he would strike again. Detectives are also looking at the possibility that the bomber was specifically targeting the sheriff's sergeant.
Bills has been harassed in the past with obscene phone calls and vandalism at his visible home located near an I-215 offramp. His home was also visible during the election campaign for sheriff. Bills was one of only a few deputies who openly supported Kennard. A lighted campaign sign was placed in his front yard.
But Salt Lake County Sheriff Aaron Kennard said he does not believe the bombing is connected to political motives.
Last month, the Taylorsville home of sheriff's Lt. Dan Ipson was damaged by a Molotov cocktail bomb. A 19-year-old suspect was later arrested. The suspect had reportedly threatened the lieutenant ever since Ipson arrested him for driving with a revoked license.
Sheriff's officials have scheduled a Monday briefing with other law enforcement agencies to discuss Thursday's bombing.