snapshots

Mar 20, 2018 | 13:43 GMT

2 mins read

U.S.: Fifth Explosion in the Austin Area Prompts New Questions

(Stratfor)
Highlights

  • The parcel was sent through FedEx, leaving many more pieces of evidence for investigators to develop. 
  • While the presence of shrapnel in the device is a common denominator among the attacks, little else has been made public about the latest device, including its intended destination. 
  • Further devices concealed in legitimate parcel packages could remain in circulation.

Editor's Note: This report was produced and originally published March 20 by Threat Lens, Stratfor's unique protective intelligence product. Designed with corporate security leaders in mind, Threat Lens enables industry professionals to anticipate, identify, measure and mitigate emerging threats to people and assets around the world.

A package exploded just after midnight March 20 on a conveyor belt at a FedEx facility in the San Antonio suburb of Schertz, Texas, slightly injuring one employee, The Austin American-Statesman reported. Preliminary reports describe the package as being sent from Austin to another Austin address, making this the fifth suspicious explosion in or bound for the Austin area since March 2. 

Authorities are working under the assumption that this device is linked to the previous four. While the presence of shrapnel in the device is a common denominator, little else has been made public about the device (including the intended destination). We cannot rule out a copycat attack, especially considering that this device appears to have detonated earlier than anticipated — a mistake inconsistent with the previous attacks.

Regardless of who is behind this explosion, sending a parcel through FedEx will leave many more pieces of evidence for investigators to develop, including sender information, payment records and potentially even a physical description of the sender if the package was mailed in person, as well as handwriting samples on the waybill and perhaps even fingerprints. Sending a bomb via FedEx (or any other courier service) is much riskier for the bombmaker and one reason why we suspect the devices so far have been placed by hand.

There is a risk that further devices concealed in legitimate parcel packages are still in circulation. As emphasized before, anyone in the area who sees anything suspicious or out of place should keep their distance and alert authorities immediately.

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