Update, 10:56 pm: Police have found some possible connections – the stepfather of the man who died in the package explosion knew the grandfather of another bombing victim, police say.
My daughter and I were enjoying Austin ‘s SXSW over the weekend, and motoring towards Dallas Monday when news of yet another package bombing came. We left just in time, I said. Police continue to investigate three parcel bomb explosions over the last 11 days in quiet, hip Austin, Texas, as possible serial hate crimes or retaliation for gentrification in one of the neighborhoods.
And now they are warning Realtors to take extra cautions.
First there was the deadly explosion in early March that killed a 39-year-old man. The next one happened Monday, killing a teenage boy opening a package, injuring a woman who was living at the same address. Then another bomb package left an elderly woman, who picked up a package found in front of her home, in critical condition.
The explosions have all taken place in the East Austin area, about five to 12 miles apart. The fact they occurred now during the annual film, media and music festival South by Southwest, has police and leaders even more upset.
Which is why Austin police tell Real Estate agents to be on guard and extra cautious about packages, if they are out and about checking on any properties.
Agents tend to check on listings, and take any packages on the porch into the house as a courtesy.
Apparently, even picking up the package can set off a bomb inside it.
“If I was going to show a property in the middle of the day and there was a package on the front porch, I would think twice about touching it,” says Julie Nelson, an Austin-based agent with eXp Realty, to Inman News. She is advising agents on what to do if they see a package at an empty home .
“If it was a vacant home, I would walk away and call 911. If it was occupied, I would probably call the listing agent. I would be a little nervous.”
Everyone in Austin is a little nervous.
Austin’s chief of police, Brian Manley, is advising residents to be cautious about opening any parcels they weren’t expecting and to call 911 if anything looks suspicious. He said today on local Austin news station KXANthat even picking up a package could set off an expertly-made bomb.