Children in Baltimore County have recently been leaving dangerous homemade "bottle bombs" in mailboxes, on people's lawns and in other outdoor areas around the county, according to Baltimore County police.
"They do it as a prank," said Lt. Rob McCullough, a police spokesman, "but once again, it's dangerous."
The so-called bombs are plastic bottles filled with a chemical drain cleaner, a piece of aluminum foil and a little bit of water — three ingredients that, when mixed, cause a gas reaction that fills the bottle until it explodes.
The devices are dangerous enough that police have been forwarding an email warning about the so-called bombs to county public school teachers and other community members in recent weeks, McCullough said.
"We were just basically warning the community, warning citizens, to be aware of it, and if they see anything similar laying on their lawns or in their mail boxes, not to pick those items up, because they could potentially explode and cause harm," McCullough said.
McCullough said the devices aren't new, and have popped up around the county "from time to time" in recent years.
Still, police wanted to educate teachers on the devices so the teachers could share the information with parents.
McCullough said several of the devices have been found in the county recently, and had exploded, but he was not aware of any injuries.