ATF investigating bomb targeting woman

July 13, 2010 11:31:29 AM PDT
We're continuing to follow the investigation into an explosion that left a lot of people concerned. A Houston woman was nearly killed after she opened what she thought was a box of chocolates, but inside was a bomb. We first told you about the explosion at a home on Seamist Court and Widdicomb Court in northwest Houston on Friday and there are still many unanswered questions about where this disguised bomb may have come from.

As the victim, Vennie Wolf, 58, now rests at home, neighbors still cannot make sense of why anything like this happened here.

"It's a very strange thing," said one neighbor. "It's a quiet neighborhood."

It's a puzzle the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms is trying to piece together, too.

Assistant Special Agent in Charge Robert Elder with the ATF said, "We're certainly hopeful that this is an isolated incident."

It happened Friday night. Authorities say Wolf was opening a package she had received weeks ago when it exploded, shooting nails and tacks into her face and into her hands.

Neighbors who had seen the package say it was disguised to look like a box of chocolates left inside a gift bag with a card attached reading "thank you."

"A bomb is limited by the builder's imagination," Elder said.

The only clue it was a fake, neighbors say, was the victim's name was spelled incorrectly. That's something the ATF says is enough to at least make a recipient leery.

"If a name is misspelled, they should be suspicious of that," Elder warned. "If a package is left on your doorstep from someone you're not expecting, you should be suspicious of that."

Other clues are if the package has no return address, smells funny or has oil stains. In the latter cases experts say leave it alone and call police.

Elder said, "I don't want to overly alarm folks. We certainly want them to be cautious."

The victim had surgery to repair damage to her left hand. Her face is still bruised but recovering. Authorities say she was the intended victim, but there's still no word on a motive.


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