Austin blasts spark comparisons to Unabomber
Security expert Aaron Cohen provides insight to the serial explosion in Texas and discusses comparisons with the hunt for the Unabomber.
Home security experts in Austin, Texas say that they have seen an increase in questions after four bomb explosions rocked the capital of the Lone Star State.
“We have seen an increase in volume. It is a significant increase.” Daniel Stoltzfus, CEO of Texas-based Fort Knox Home Security told Fox News.
The security expert of the industry as a whole has seen a shift from alarms to surveillance with items such as automatic locks, as well as the exterior and doorbell cameras — a technology that he says could help to prevent the bombings in Austin.
“It’s probably the best way to detect,” Stoltzfus says. “With a doorbell with camera, the user can know when a package arrives and get a text immediately.”
“If something doesn’t look right, they can call the authorities without actually going outside and touching the package.”
And outdoor cameras can help monitor activity around the perimeter of a house.
“Homeowners would be able to see a video of a suspicious car,” he said.
“On the basis of what we see, it is a huge need for people. All of these method are effective in the prevention of incidents such as this.”
Stoltzfus says that he can’t say with certainty that the increase in customers is directly related to the bombing, but ask for his company have increased significantly in the past three weeks. He said that it often happens when events such as this make the news.
“We saw a spike in our Houston office a few years back after a series of robberies in the city,” he recalled. “We dealt with 40 – something properties in the area in the two days after it’s in the news.”
A fourth explosion occurred in Austin city limits on Sunday evening in a suburban development known as Travis Country. Two men, aged 22 and 23, were walking their bikes when the explosives detonated. The attack differs from the first three, which involved package bombs left on the doorsteps, police said.
Travis Country is far from the sites of previous bombings, which occurred about two weeks plus in residential areas east of Interstate 35, which divides the city.
The first was a package bomb that exploded at a northeast Austin home on March 2, killing the 39-year-old Anthony Stephen House. Two package bombs then exploded further to the south on March 12, the killing of the 17-year-old Draylen Mason, injuring his mother and injuring a 75-year-old woman.
Earlier Sunday, Austin police said that the reward for information leading to an arrest in the deadly explosions increased by $50,000 to a new total of $115,000. Austin police chief Brian Manley said more than 500 officials, including federal agents have conducted 236 interviews, following up 435.
The local authorities said on Monday that they believe that a “serial bomber” is probably responsible for the four explosions.
“It is clear that We are dealing with what we what we expect of a serial bomber on this point, on the basis of the similarities between what is now the fourth device,” Manley said at a press conference Monday morning.
Frederick Milanowski, the special agent accountable for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said the latest bomb was “more advanced”, because it uses a trip wire. Milanowski said trip wire devices, possibly with the help of rod, are triggered by the victims to apply any form of pressure or tension.
“We are more concerned now. That is, people see something suspicious, they stay away and contact law enforcement,” he said Monday during the press conference.
A former European military trained bomb technician, told Fox News that in his professional opinion, the latest bombing is the work of someone with a military or NGO training.
“[It] seems to be not a work that everyone who learns from the internet can do. Learn how to make a pipe bomb on the internet.” The technician, who for anonymity because of the nature of his work as a private contractor, said. “You don’t need to learn how to make a wire trip bomb and deliver unnoticed. That is an interesting skill.”
“Tripwire bombs can be in a doorway. To put it in a package is an interesting thing, and takes a considerable amount of skill – more than just set up a claymore to go off. You must take into account how much force is used to open a package…quite a sensitive device.”
Fox News’ Travis Fedschun contributed to this report.
Perry Chiaramonte is a producer, Fox News Channel, Investigative Unit. Follow him on Twitter via @perrych