Suspect caught on surveillance video placing suspicious device near school

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) -  St. Louis County police now say there were two suspicious packages left at the front door of a north county elementary school last week. The first one ignited and caused a small explosion breaking glass and producing some smoke. That triggered a fire alarm and prompted school administrators to evacuate the students and staff.

Original reports indicated there was just one package. The regional Bomb and Arson unit determined that one was not dangerous.

Authorities, including the FBI, continue to investigate the incident at Moline Elementary in the 98-hundred block of Winkler Dr.  What remains of the first package is being analyzed to determine what it was.

County Police spokesman Sgt. Shawn McGuire said the FBI provides additional resources to the investigation.  “We want to make sure this isn’t something more like a terrorist threat or anything like that,” McGuire said Tuesday.

Police are now turning to the public for help in identifying a male suspect seen on surveillance video from the school.  He is described as an African American man of slender build and average height who walks with an “unusual gait”. He was wearing a tan bucket hat and dark clothing.

The video shows him carrying packages to the school’s front door.  As he runs away a small amount of smoke is visible on the right side of the video.

The St. Louis County Police Bomb & Arson squad explodes a suspicious package in front of Moline Elementary School

The St. Louis County Police Bomb & Arson squad explodes a suspicious package in front of Moline Elementary School

Moline Elementary is one of 13 school buildings in the Riverview Gardens School District in north St. Louis County.  The district’s director of safety and security, Kelli McCrary said schools were closed the day after the incident so police and district staff could inspect all buildings and arrange to increase security.

No threats to the district have been reported and police have not determined a motive in the case.

Sgt. McGuire praised the district for its response, “A small little firework went off; they had some damage to the glass in the building.  They saw another package. They immediately treated this as a bomb threat.  And that’s perfect in this this scenario. They evacuated the school immediately,” McGuire said.

The FBI and CrimeStoppers are now offering $6,000 in a cash reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect in last week’s incident.  If you have information call CrimeStoppers a 1-866-371-TIPS (8477).