Florida police search for suspect after two IEDs detonate at mall

Two improvised explosive devices exploded inside a Florida mall on Sunday, police said.

Lake Wales police Deputy Chief Troy Schulze told reporters that the Lake Wales Fire Department received a call just before 5:30 p.m. about a possible structure fire at the Eagle Ridge Mall.

Schulze said when firefighters arrived at the scene they discovered an IED that ignited or detonated inside the service corridor as they went inside near the J.C. Penney. Schulze said they also found a bag contained what they believed to be other devices inside.

Police said the devices were flares wrapped in electrical tape inside a plastic pipe, according to Fox 13 Tampa Bay. Authorities detonated the flares, the station reported.


The Eagle Ridge Mall in Lake Wales, Fla. was evacuated Sunday evening.  (Eagle Ridge Mall)

Officials said the mall was evacuated and there were no injuries.

Investigators said they are looking for a person of interest, described as a middle-aged white man with a heavy or stocky build who was wearing a grey shirt and grey hat. The man’s name was not released.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Lake Wales Police Department at (863)678-4223 or Heartland Crime Stoppers at (800) 226-8477.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.