Video shows suspects in Durham bus prank
Posted July 23
Durham, N.C. — Durham police were reviewing surveillance video Wednesday that shows three teens placing the bottle that exploded on a Bull City Connector bus Tuesday night, Sean Smith, general manager of the Durham Area Transit Authority, said.
Smith said the teens could be seen laughing as they placed something on the floor of the bus at around 9:30 p.m.
"They pushed the button to get off the bus, got off the bus (and) a few seconds later the contraption popped," Smith described. "It made a loud noise. The driver pulled over, then you see liquid going on the floor."
Smith and police investigating the incident have described the device as a chemical "bomb," although Smith clarified Wednesday that the result was not fire and smoke, but foam that did little damage to the bus.
"It wasn't smoke or any incendiary device," Smith said. "It just seemed like some childish prank."
Smith said the people involved appeared to be about 15 or 16 years old.
One teen was wearing a purple baseball cap with a pink bill, a dark sweatshirt, green cargo shorts and white and purple sneakers. A second teen was wearing a light-colored T-shirt with writing and the number 22 on the front and light-colored shorts. The third teen was wearing a light blue shirt with writing on the front and light-colored long pants.
The bus company provided video to police investigating the incident, which resulted in closed streets in downtown Durham Tuesday night. West Main Street between Market and Mangum streets was closed for about two hours.
Smith said that the nature of the damage should not minimize the seriousness of the incident.
"It's no joking matter, particularly in today's climate," he said. "If something bad would have happened, somebody could have really been hurt behind it."
One passenger on the bus was exposed to the fumes from the chemicals but was not seriously injured, police said.
Police have yet to identify the culprits, but Smith said the surveillance video should help.
"The police should be able to apprehend these (people) if the community can come through and tell police who it is," he said.
Police have yet to release the video to the public.
Anyone with information about the bomb or the people who left it is asked to call Durham police at 919-560-4935, ext. 29416 or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200. Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases, and callers never have to identify themselves.
Meanwhile, Smith said, bus drivers and other transit personnel would be reviewing policies for identifying suspicious behavior among their riders.
"We are going to reinforce our protocols as far as packages and objects being brought on the bus," he said.