Most Cass County residents expect to find letters, bills, and shopping flyers in their mailboxes at the end of a day, but certainly not bombs.
In recent weeks, a few Raymore residents have been surprised after discovering explosives in their mailboxes.
One of the bombs, possibly an improvised explosive device, exploded in Jim and Virginia Long’s mailbox in the 1500 block of Gore Road, in rural Raymore, just after 4 p.m. July 27, according to the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.
The Longs were not home when the explosive erupted, but help wasn’t very far away.
Shortly before their mailbox exploded, deputies had just responded to their neighbor’s property in the 1400 block of Farview Road, about a quarter-mile away, where they met with Kenny Morrison, who said someone had detonated an explosive in his mailbox.
South Metro Fire Protection was extinguishing Morrison’s mailbox when they, along with a deputy, heard the explosion at Long’s residence.
“While they were over there, they heard the explosion over here at my house so they came around here and the mailbox was blown clear off of the post up into our yard,” Jim Long said, as he recalled what happened.
Crews responded to the second incident, where they discovered that the bomb had caught the grass on fire, about 15 feet from their mailbox post.
“It had to have been pretty big because it just annihilated my mailbox,” Long said.
Investigators are still trying to determine the precise type of explosive used.
A third incident occurred almost a week later, four miles away in the 300 block of E. 155th Street, on the south side of the street, in Raymore.
Raymore police responded to a residence Aug. 1 after a woman noticed the device in her mailbox. The resident then reportedly told her husband, who then notified police, according to Chief Jan Zimmerman.
The Lee’s Summit Bomb Squad also responded to the incident.
The device did not explode, but Zimmerman described what police found as a “sparkler bomb.”
“It can definitely hurt you,” she said.
While potentially serious, injuries were not reported at the previous explosions.
Long said this isn’t the first time he has had issues with his mailbox, but after this latest incident, he’s planning on getting a post office box.
“We’ve had trouble. We have lived out here 20-some years now, but we’ve had four or five times where they’ve beat up our mailbox with a club, or something, and one time I found it up the road a quarter a mile,” he said. “It’s just some kids, I suspect, out having a good time.”
The U.S. Postal Inspection Services announced Aug. 8 that they are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect(s) who placed the explosives in the mailboxes.
“We are working with law enforcement in Cass County regarding the destruction of USPS mail receptacles, said Kansas City-based U.S. Postal Inspector Paul Mezzanotte, in a statement Aug. 9. “The case is ongoing and we at this time have no additional comments.”
Individuals are urged to take no action in trying to apprehend the subjects, but are asked to contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Services at 1-877-876-2455, or the Sheriff's Office at 816-380-5200.
In addition to the tampering of mailboxes in Raymore, the Sheriff’s Office is also looking for a suspect who is responsible for stealing mailboxes from the area of Lone Tree, north of Archie, and throwing them over the overpass at E. 327th Street and Interstate 49, striking vehicles.
“We had one incident where somebody chucked a mailbox off the overpass and it had gone through the window of a tractor trailer traveling up the road. It actually came through and struck the driver and he sustained some injuries from the impact of the mailbox,” Maj. Jeff Weber said. “It could have been far more severe with other traffic and that size of vehicle. He could have ran off the road and hit something or someone...that’s pretty serious stuff and goes beyond kids being mischief.”
Three separate reports have been taken and investigators have collected the mailboxes as evidence and have had all the fingerprints sent to a crime lab for analysis and comparison.