Kendra McKenzie Gill, a beauty queen from Utah, has been booked on suspicion of throwing homemade bombs out of a car in what one writer has referred to as the case of “beauty and the bombs.”
To be fair, it’s not as much of a national security issue as it might sound. Gill, recently crowned Miss Riverton, Utah, is accused of detonating incendiary devices after being arrested on Saturday. She and three friends have apparently admitted to buying plastic bottles, aluminum foil, and household chemicals and using these ingredients to concoct rudimentary bombs that they threw into residential yards. Nine incidents were reported, though nobody was reported injured.
The others arrested were John Patrick Reagh, Shanna Marie Smith, and Bryce Christopher Stone. Stone reportedly told police that the four of them had been “pranking.”
Gill had won a $2,000 scholarship at the June 8 Miss Riverton competition and was set to compete in the next Miss Utah pageant in October. Riverton is a town of approximately 40,000 people, 20 miles south of Salt Lake City.
While the nature of the devices is unclear, the fact that the group reportedly purchased aluminum foil suggests that they were so-called “works” bombs, made from combining drain cleaner and foil in a plastic bottle. A chemical reaction created by the drain cleaner and foil results in a build-up of gas that causes the plastic bottle to explode.
A warning from the Washtenaw County Sheriff in Ann Arbor, Michigan, notes that “works bombs” are dangerous and can result in “second- or third-degree burns or blindness.” On June 6, 2009, KCTV in Kansas City, Kansas, reported that such a device exploded in a mailbox, blowing it from its base.
Though the bombs are powerful and easy to make, authorities caution that they are dangerous, especially insofar as they can potentially sit dormant for some time, injuring unsuspecting passers-by or curious kids/pets when they eventually do explode.