A two-man police team is visiting a score of stores in North Miami Beach with a message: be alert for someone who might be building a bomb.
Officers Frantz Jean-Louis and Jean Philome of the North Miami Beach Police stopped by the West Marine store at 16215 Biscayne Blvd. Thursday as part of the Bomb-Making Materials Awareness Program. The police department is using the program – funded by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI – to educate local businesses on how they can recognize suspicious buying behavior that could indicate bomb-making activities.
The project is precautionary, and not tied to any specific known threat.
Through the program, employees are trained to spot someone who is buying something out of the ordinary. If Timothy McVeigh’s massive purchase of farm fertilizer had been reported, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing might have been averted, for example.
Many different kinds of businesses sell chemicals that can be used to make an “improvised explosive device,” police say.
Police spokesman Thomas Carney said officers will be visiting grocery stores, “beauty supply stores, supermarkets, Target, Costco, anything like that, that sells chemicals, sells fertilizer – anything that can be used to put together to make a bomb.”
The visits will take place over the next two weeks.
On Thursday, Philome asked Robert Clouse of West Marine if they notify local authorities when they notice suspicious behavior.
“Right, if there’s anything that sounds suspicious, yeah,” Clouse said.