– Police are alarmed by a surge in backyard bombs made of items such as gas canisters.
Arson Squad head Jeff Maher said the incidence of improvised explosive devices was increasing in Victoria and warned those responsible could be killed or seriously injured. “Whether they are trying to cause damage to property or are experimenting, we will have a zero tolerance to this,” Detective Senior Sergeant Maher said.
He said police were also seeing an increase in commercial fireworks on the black market.
He said commercial fireworks were finding their way into back yards through rogue pyro-technicians. “The is a black market. So e disreputable licensed pyro-technicians are trafficking them,” Detective Senior Sergeant Maher said.
Detective Senior Sergeant Maher highlighted two cases where the use of a homemade bomb and illegal fireworks have ended in tragedy.
Father-of-two Carlos Rodriguez was killed after suffering massive head injuries when a “mortar-style” firework went off in his face while celebrating New Year’s Eve at his home in Tarneit in 2011.
Similarly, Matt Lewis revealed to Fairfax Media in December how he and his friends thought making a bomb out of a small barbecue gas bottle seemed like harmless fun.
The idea was to drop the homemade bomb full of explosive chemicals on a pile of dirt, and dash away so they could watch it explode from afar. But as Mr Lewis gave the bomb a quick shake before tossing it on the ground, it detonated sooner than expected, throwing him and one of his friends into the air.
After fighting life-threatening infections and more than a dozen major operations after the incident at Cannons Creek, South of Cranbourne, in August, 2011, both Mr Lewis’s legs were amputated above the knees, while surgeons tried to salvage what remained of his big toes to create fingers on his mangled hands – Jared Lynch


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