By Walt Hunter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Detectives are searching for a suspect who ignited an explosive device inside of a North Philadelphia take-out restaurant, a blast that tore a hole through the building’s wall, and police say, could have injured or killed any customer who happened to walk in.
“This could have been a catastrophe,” stated Lt. Pat Doherty, head of North Central Detective Division’s Special Investigations Unit.
Lt. Doherty says the suspect, carrying a powerful home-made explosive device in his pocket, walked into the Oriental Kitchen shop at 919 North 18th Street, placed the device into an opening in the wall, lit it and then ran out. The explosion happened just moments later.
Fortunately, police say, there were no customers inside and no one entered as the device detonated.
Suyun Huang, who owns the store with her husband, was working closest to the blast. She says she was momentarily deafened and she’s grateful no customers were nearby.
Police say the blast, captured on surveillance video along with the suspect who, police say, is around 14-years-old, was apparently caused by a device similar to an M-80.
Neighbors say they have a great relationship with the store owners, and the owners agree, making the motive even more of a mystery.
Police, neighbors and the store owners hope the suspect will be caught, or his family will turn him in before he plants any other devices.
Anyone with information should call Philadelphia Police immediately. Detectives say they believe the teenage suspect lives in the neighborhood.
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