Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's criminal justice division has offered up to $15,000 as a reward for information that leads to an arrest in three package explosions in Austin, including two that were deadly.
Abbott released the statement on Monday afternoon and also offered to provide whatever resources authorities say they need to investigate the blasts, which have occurred over the past 10 days.
Austin police on Monday responded to two explosions, the first of which killed a teenager and maimed a woman in her 40s, on the heels of a deadly explosion on March 2.
Police said Monday morning that they believed the three blasts to be linked because each package was hand-delivered rather than mailed, The Associated Press reported.
Authorities warn residents to contact police if they receive an unexpected package.
Shortly before noon Monday, a third explosion was reported, this one in the 6700 block of Galindo Street, according to the FBI's San Antonio office, which is assisting in the investigation. Like the first two, it could become a fatality.
Austin-Travis County emergency services reported that a woman in her 70s was transported to Dell Seton Medical Center with potentially life-threatening injuries.
On March 2, a package explosion just before 7 a.m. killed Anthony Stephan House, police said. Both he and the victims of the first Monday explosion were African-American, the AP reports, adding that police are seeking surveillance video from nearby homes to identify a suspect. The female victim of the second explosion on Monday is Hispanic, according to the AFP.
An Austin TV station reported that Monday's first explosion happened shortly before 7 a.m. about 11 miles from the location of the March 2 explosion. An ABC affiliate in Austin reported that the original call was made at 6:44 a.m. The blast occurred about 5 miles from the Austin Convention Center, where South by Southwest events were set to take place Monday.
House's death was initially not called a homicide, but police said they considered it a suspicious death because they didn't know whether House had constructed the bomb himself and accidentally detonated it, according to Fox News. The AP reports that his death is now considered a homicide.
Although no exploding packages have been reported in Fort Worth, police have tips for residents should they received a suspicious package at their home or workplace, according to department spokesman Tracy Carter.
"You know what kind of mail and packages you usually receive. Look for things that are out of the ordinary, such as unexpected mail from a foreign country," said Carter.
Dallas police also said that no similar incidents have been reported. But both departments offered the following tips to residents that might help in identifying a suspicious package:
- Unfamiliar return address or none at all
- Strange odor or noise
- Protruding wires
- Excessive postage
- Misspelled words
- Addressed to a business title only (e.g. President)
- Restrictive markings (e.g. Do not X-ray)
- Badly typed or written
- Rigid or bulky letters
- Lopsided or uneven
- Excessive wrapping, tape or string
- Oily stains, discoloration or crystallization on wrapping
As for Abbott's $15,000 reward for information, anonymous tips can submitted to Texas Crime Stoppers by calling 800-252-8477 or texting "DPS" followed by your tip to 274637.