Pine Island father alerted FBI to son's possible involvement

From wire services

LUBBOCK, Texas -- The FBI has issued an all-points bulletin for a 22-year-old Pine Island man who was described today as a suspect in mailbox bombings across the Midwest.

News services identified the suspect as Luke John Helder, a white male with dark hair and green eyes. He was described as armed and dangerous.

The FBI in Omaha, Neb., where the investigation is centered, refused to confirm the identity of the suspect.


The suspect was reportedly driving a car with Minnesota license plates, officials said. Bill Morgan, a spokesman with the Lubbock Police Department, said Helder was last known driving a gray, 1992 four-door Honda Accord with Minnesota license plate number EZL 783.

A pipe bomb similar to 17 others found in four other states was discovered in a rural mailbox in Amarillo today with a letter attached, the FBI said.

Morgan said the FBI contacted local law enforcement agencies about the bulletin early today. "Law enforcement in the South Plains area is aware of the possibility that this man could be in our region," he said.

Morgan said he did not know what information the FBI has linking the Amarillo bomb to others found elsewhere.

Agent Larry Holmquist said the bomb found in Amarillo, about 110 miles north of Lubbock, "looks similar to the others."

"Upon our initial inspection, it appears it would be from the same source," he said.

The pipe bomb scare began last Friday when six people were injured by mailbox explosives in Illinois and Iowa, creating new fears about domestic terrorism striking the heartland.

Amarillo is about 325 miles southeast from Salida, Colo., where one of the pipe bombs was found Monday.


"We haven't made any comparisons yet, but everything else, including the bomb itself, looks similar in nature," Holmquist said.

Amarillo homeowner Roberto Martinez, 44, told The Associated Press he opened his mailbox Monday afternoon and found the bomb and two notes in a see-through, pink-hued sandwich bag.

He described the bomb as a metal pipe about six inches long with a bunch of wires, two needles, black electrical tape and two end caps.

As soon as he found the bomb, "I took over to my friend's house. He then called police."

Martinez said police told him it did not explode because it lacked a battery.

"I'm afraid. I'm not going to check the mailbox no more," Martinez said. "I don't know who did it."

What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.