Woman, Age 44, in Custody During Investigation of Small Explosion in Target Bathroom, Howard St, Evanston

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A woman, age 44, is in custody after a small plastic bottle bomb exploded Wednesday afternoon in the bathroom of a Target store at 2209 Howard Street Evanston.

Police say the explosion is not believed to be connected to the company’s transgender policy. Target has been embroiled in a controversy for allowing people to choose their bathroom use according to their claimed gender identity, regardless of physical gender characteristics.

Police report the woman in custody is a person of interest in the small explosion at the store in the 2200 block of Howard Street Wednesday afternoon. No charges have been filed, and the woman’s identity has not been released by police.

Police say the source of the explosion may have been a plastic bottle that investigators found in the stall. There are well known methods, often used by pranksters, to explode plastic bottles by mixing common household products and sealing the bottles. When a chemical reaction occurs involving the mixed chemicals, pressure builds in the bottles and they can explode with enough force to sever fingers and cause dispersal of chemicals with resulting second- and third-degree chemical burns, respiratory injury, eye injury and blindness, hearing loss and death. Evanston police have not confirmed the type of explosion that occurred.

No one was injured in the explosion, and there was no smoke or fire associated with the explosion, but there was damage reported that was limited to a stall in the women’s bathroom. The Target store is located on Howard Street near McCormick Boulevard.

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