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Police warn of dangers of 'bottle bombs'

Sunday - 3/18/2012, 3:19pm  ET

WASHINGTON - Police and firefighters are warning about a common prank where empty plastic bottles are turned into dangerous explosive devices.

These devices are often called "bottle bombs" and police say the people who make them, often teenagers, are learning how to make them online.

The "bottle bombs" are often made using corrosive chemicals that are hazardous to humans, pets and the environment. People exposed to the chemicals used could require medical treatments, because of injuries to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract.

Howard County police say there have five incidents so far this year, and there were nine last year.

Nobody has been injured in any of the recent incidents, but police and firefighters say they can cause harm, and the public should be aware.

Police say anyone who sees a bottle bomb should call 911 immediately. A sign that a bottle has been burned into a "bottle bomb" is that it has significantly expanded and deformed.

Anybody who makes a "bottle bomb" could be charged with a felony.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)