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Published: Thursday, 3/15/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Monroe County bombing device came from parts for remote control cars, ATF says

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
A Monroe firefighter sprays water on the burning car of Erik Chappell in this Sept. 20, 2011, file photo. A Monroe firefighter sprays water on the burning car of Erik Chappell in this Sept. 20, 2011, file photo.
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DETROIT — A device underneath an attorney’s vehicle that later detonated contained electronic components from remote control cars, an official with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Thursday morning during a news conference in Detroit.

David McCain, the special agent in charge of the ATF office in Detroit, said investigators have narrowed the parts to possibly being produced for one of six different cars all made by the Electrics RC company. The average price of such vehicles would be about $130 each.

A car driven by Sylvania-based attorney Erik Chappell on Sept. 20 burst into flames on a Monroe street after a bomb detonated. Mr. McCain said Thursday that the pipe-bomb like device was located under the vehicle. Mr. Chappell was able to get himself and his two boys, Grant, 14, and Cole, 11, from the burning car to safety. All three were injured.

The Monroe County Chapter of the American Red Cross last week honored Mr. Chappell for the efforts he took during the car bombing. Mr. Chappell of LaSalle Township was nominated for the Adult Good Samaritan Hero award by Monroe County Circuit Judge Joseph Costello, Jr.

From left to right:  Boost Buggy, Ruckus Monster Truck, back, Circuit Stadium Truck, front, at HobbyTown USA. Pieces from remote control cars like these were used to create the bomb that blew up under Erik Chappell's Volvo. From left to right: Boost Buggy, Ruckus Monster Truck, back, Circuit Stadium Truck, front, at HobbyTown USA. Pieces from remote control cars like these were used to create the bomb that blew up under Erik Chappell's Volvo.
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No arrests have been made in the case, but the ATF on Thursday also released a detailed description of personality traits of the suspect or suspects. It suggested that “the person responsible ... held such a grievance toward the victim, Erik Chappell, that he was willing to kill him and innocent children to exact his revenge.”

Mr. McCain said the bombing was indeed a targeted attack against Mr. Chappell. No search warrants have been executed in the investigation but authorities said they have conducted polygraph tests, although they declined to say how many.

More than one suspect could be involved, Mr. McCain said, but he declined to answer questions about whether the suspect could have been a client or someone known to Mr. Chappell through his legal work.

Mr. Chappell’s sons, who were more severely injured, both have since recovered from their injuries.

The reward for information in the case was increased to $20,000 from the original $10,000.


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