$1,000 reward offered for information on city 'pipe bomber'

By Kathy Helms-Hughes

STAR STAFF
khughes@starhq.com

   The Elizabethton Star in conjunction with Elizabethton Police Department is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Elizabethton's "pipe bomber."
   "The newspaper is interested in the welfare of this community and always has been," said Frank Robinson, president emeritus of the Elizabethton Star. "We will do whatever we can to expedite the apprehension of the culprit. If we can in some small way help the police to get this done, we are happy to do so."
   Elizabethton Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were called to 408 Division St., Tuesday to investigate the fourth pipe bomb found in six days. All have been concentrated on the west end of town.
   Two explosive devices were detonated April 24 and April 27 at a residence on Burgie Street and another at the intersection of Valentine Drive and Bonnie Kate Boulevard, respectively. Two other devices -- one found Sunday at 413 Monument Place and another Tuesday at 408 Division St. -- were blown up by Johnson City Police Department bomb technicians.
   While far from the scale of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the pipe bombings are still acts of terrorism which threaten the trust and honor associated with this small-town lifestyle.
   "We need to do something before somebody gets hurt or killed," Robinson said.
   Community policing efforts are needed to bring the incidents to a close. Because officers cannot be everywhere all of the time they are asking the public to be their eyes and ears.
   Persons noting suspicious activity in their neighborhood or persons finding any suspicious-looking device are asked to contact 911 immediately. Persons desiring to talk to an officer directly are asked to call 547-6411 or 547-6413.
   Information also may be provided anonymously by calling the police tip line at 542-7574. Callers will be given a reference number which can be used at a later date to claim the reward. Information provided by the caller is relayed immediately to detectives in the police department's Criminal Investigation Division.