NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- New Rochelle Police, the Westchester County Bomb Squad and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are investigating a series of bombings that have occurred in New Rochelle. Over the last two weekends there have been three separate incidents involving what police sources are describing as Improvised Explosive Devices or IEDs.
All were detonated in the vicinity of Iona College and New Rochelle High School.
The latest detonation of an IED occurred Friday night at around 11 a.m. in the area of Mayflower Avenue. It was heard by many residents in the area but the exact location has yet to be determined.
Residents as far away as Aberfoyle Road also reported hearing the blast. Police officers responding to a burglary at 2 Glenbrook Road reported hearing the blast, over a mile away.
The explosion rocked the Iona College area, sending the police department scrambling to the location while in the middle of responding to an interrupted burglary with the K9 units searching for suspects in the Larchmont Woods area.
A week ago, An IED was placed inside a blue and green steel garbage can at Jack's Friendship Garden at the corner of North Avenue and Eastchester Road.
The garbage can was located a few feet from a swing set in the park. The blast caused significant damage to the steel can and shredded a grey plastic garbage can placed inside the steel garbage can container. Piece of plastic and metal littered the area.
The steel container was removed as evidence by the Westchester County Police Bomb Squad.
One source familiar with the investigation said officers from the Bomb Squad were "impressed" with the sophistication of the device recovered from the scene.
Another reported explosion was initially logged as a transformer explosion but in light of the other incidents police are considering that it may have been a third IED.
Residents have expressed concern over lower levels of manpower and staffing. Members of the PBA recently demonstrated outside the Davenport Club as City officials arrived for the annual State of the City Address.
This reporter heard the blast and would like to make a few personal observations.
I live in the effected area and these bombings hit extremely close to home.
I believe that the public should have an awareness of these safety issues. When it comes to our public safety we need to be diligent appreciating the work that the Police Department does for our city. NRPD needs to have the capacity to protect the citizens of New Rochelle and continue to keep the city safe.
Ten years ago, the manpower of the New Rochelle police department was roughly at 189 officers from top to bottom and now today the department is at approximately 150 officers on duty. In another year, there will be considerably fewer officers factoring in "badge draining" and retirements. This amounts to a reduction of about 25% of our Police officers protecting us in New Rochelle.
After the Mayflower blast, NRPD struggled with manpower issues, dealing with two separate, demanding responses to crime scenes.