Small explosion destroys Arlington Little Free Library box – The Washington Post

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A series of small explosions startled Arlington residents overnight this week, destroying a Little Free Library box and prompting an investigation involving federal authorities, officials said Thursday.
Around 12:45 a.m. Wednesday, fire personnel responded to the 100 block of North Columbus Street, in the Arlington Forest neighborhood, for a report of a fire, Arlington County said in a statement. They found a small fire burning outside after a small explosion destroyed a Little Free Library, the statement said. ARLNow first reported the news of the explosion.
During a search of the scene, fire officials found another possible explosion site a couple of blocks north at the Lubber Run Park amphitheater, according to the statement. Authorities said they think the incidents are connected and are processing evidence with the assistance of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
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Sharon Beth Bronheim, who maintains the Little Free Library on her property, said she and her husband heard a “soft thud” followed by an explosion and flash of light around 12:30 a.m. When they looked out the window, they saw the library was gone amid two fires burning in fallen leaves.
After she and neighbors put the fires out with a fire extinguisher and a hose, Bronheim said, she quickly realized what had happened to her library box.
“Somebody blew it up,” she said.
Bronheim said her father built the library last year, during the pandemic, bringing the neighborhood into a nationwide network of book sharing.
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But Bronheim, who is Jewish, wasn’t just worried about a few dozen destroyed books. The explosions rocked the neighborhood not long after the FBI warned of credible threats to synagogues in New Jersey. In a way, she said, this sort of crime scene was a relief.
“The fact that it could have been antisemitism was there,” she said.
Michael Thomas, who lives in the neighborhood, said he slept through the explosion but documented its aftermath. His photographs of the Lubber Run Park amphitheater’s “wishing well” — a collection box for donations, he said — show charred wood strewn amid fallen leaves.
Neighbors have complained recently about explosions during the night in the neighborhood’s email discussion group, Thomas said. Some speculated that youths were setting off cherry bombs — but this was something more.
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“This was not just a cherry bomb,” Thomas said. “They never targeted property before. This was destruction both of private and public property.”
Authorities said those living near the explosions should check home surveillance equipment for footage and encouraged anyone with information about the incidents to contact police at 703-228-4180.

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