LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) – Investigators with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office on Thursday released a third image of a man seen in the Southwest Plaza shortly before a pipe bomb and propane tanks were found inside.
Authorities are looking for the public’s help in determining who the suspicious-looking person is who is shown in the images which were captured on the mall’s security videotape.
“There’s an urgency to find the individual for obvious reasons and we’re using all available resources that we need in Jefferson County and certainly our federal partners to run down those leads and identify that person of interest in those photographs,” Sheriff Ted Mink said.
Mink, along with the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told reporters Thursday they are receiving some tips about the photos.
“The investigation is following a good track. We’re following a lot of good leads,” said Luke Franey, a spokesman for the ATF.
The subject is described as a white male, with graying hair, a silver mustache, wearing a dark colored cap with a light colored logo on the front, gray and white horizontally stripped shirt, dark jacket with silver buttons, blue jeans, and dark colored shoes. Anyone with information about him is asked to call Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office tipline at (303) 271-5615.
Members of the Jefferson County Bomb Squad found two propane tanks and a pipe bomb inside the mall after a small fire broke out near the food court at about 11:50 a.m. on Wednesday. The mall was evacuated as a precaution and then closed for the rest of the day and several schools nearby were placed on lockouts.
Officials confirmed late Thursday the propane tanks were purchased at a nearby Target store.
Multiple K-9 units with five dogs conducted sweeps of the mall. The Jefferson County Bomb Squad sent in a bomb robot to investigate the device. When the robot attempted to pick up the pipe bomb, Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jacki Kelley said it fell apart.
The mall is located in unincorporated Jefferson County and is about 2 miles from Columbine High School, where classes had already been canceled on Wednesday. The school was marking the anniversary of the deadly shooting rampage at the high school 12 years before.
“I think the date is fresh on everybody’s mind,” Mink said. He told reporters they are looking into any possible connection to the anniversary of the tragedy.
Jefferson County officials said there are usually about 6,000 to 10,000 people in the mall around noon each day.
The Southwest Plaza reopened Thursday morning. (Full Story)