Explosive devices detonated at Florida mall; Suspicious items found

(Photo: WKRN)

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Police are looking for a man who was seen running away from a Lake Wales mall after two devices exploded there on Sunday.

At 5:22 p.m., firefighters responded to a smoke alarm call that turned into a structure fire call at Eagle Ridge Mall at 451 Eagle Ridge Dr.

Deputy Chief Troy Schulze, a spokesperson for the City of Lake Wales said two devices were detonated in a service corridor near JCPenney.

Investigators say each device appeared to be composed of some type of flare inside of a PVC pipe that was wrapped in electrical tape.

Schulze said the corridor where the devices exploded is located close to a loading dock where deliveries come in, therefore shoppers were out of harm’s way.

No one was hurt, but there was damage to a drop ceiling and the mall was evacuated as a precaution.

Police are also inspecting another suspicious device that was left near the mall’s movie theater.

Witnesses told detectives they saw a middle-aged white male with a heavy/stocky build running away from the scene.

He was wearing a gray shirt and a gray hat before the explosion. He is now considered a “person of interest” in this case.