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Flashlight explosive goes off at Phoenix building; two hurt

PHOENIX (AP) — A flashlight rigged with explosives went off Thursday inside a Salvation Army distribution center in south-central Phoenix, slightly injuring two employees, authorities said.

Phoenix police said preliminary evidence suggests the incident is linked to two other recent cases in Glendale in which someone left flashlights packed with explosives in open areas of the city.

The Salvation Army distribution center and nearby area were evacuated as a precaution and police brought in a bomb squad to investigate the explosion, which occurred at about 3:30 p.m. The building did not appear to be damaged.

Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to the scene, as they did to the Glendale incidents.

Authorities say a Salvation Army employee was sorting through donated items, found the flashlight and tried to turn it on when it exploded. The employee suffered minor injuries, as did a nearby co-worker.

Glendale police had reported that explosive devices were found on May 13 and 14 and that the explosives were inside a standard 6-volt yellow flashlight.

They said the devices detonated when the people who discovered them tried to turn on the flashlights. Police say no one was seriously hurt in either case. No arrests have been made, but federal agents are investigating.

Phoenix police say they won’t know for sure whether the incidents are connected until bomb technicians review the cases.

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