People at Central Florida mall evacuated after explosive device detonates

Bag found with other possible explosive devices, deputies say


POLK COUNTY, Fla. – People at the Eagle Ridge Mall were evacuated Sunday evening after an explosive device detonated in a corridor, deputies said.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office said the Lake Wales Fire Department was called to the mall at 451 Eagle Ridge Drive responding to an alarm, but when they arrived, firefighters found smoke coming from a corridor next to JC Penney and discovered an improvised explosive device that had detonated.

Firefighters said they found a backpack in the same corridor containing other possible explosive devices.

Deputies reported no injuries, but said there was damage to a ceiling and possibly a corridor wall.

The Sheriff's Office said based on witness information, officials are now searching for a person of interest who is white, middle-aged with a heavy build, and wearing a gray shirt and gray hat.

The Lake Wales Police Department has begun a criminal investigation into the incident.

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