Police seek man who dropped bottle with fuse into food court

A man is in custody after allegedly dropping a bottle with a fuse into the food court at Ballston Common Mall in Arlington early Thursday afternoon, according to police .

Police received a call about the incident at about 12:10 p.m. After an investigation, police said, authorities determined that a man dropped a 40-ounce bottle filled with an unknown substance — it “appears to be gasoline,” according to Arlington Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck — and a lit fuse attached.

The bottle shattered, police said, but there was no fire or explosion, and no injuries were reported.

“You could see where it hit,” said Sewell Truitte, 44, assistant parts manager at the Mercedes Benz of Arlington, who visited the mall for lunch shortly after the incident. “It’s just crazy that stuff like this happens.”

The mall was evacuated, and eastbound Wilson Boulevard was closed near the mall as police set up a perimeter, according to Sternbeck. An individual matching a police description of the suspect was later found in the Clarendon area, police said.

Three similar bottles were found elsewhere in the mall, police said. Investagitors were checking with merchants and mall security about possible surveillance video.

The FBI and ATF have also discussed the incident with Arlington police, Sternbeck said.

Anyone with information is asked to call 703-558-2222.


This item has been updated.

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