Motive sought in Center City package explosion

- Philadelphia police are continuing to search for a motive in the "target specific" package explosion that left a man injured. Investigators say they have ruled out the incident as an act of hate.

James Alden, who is in his 60s, was hurt in the explosion in his Center City kitchen at about 4am Monday when police say he "opened up a package that he suspected was medication that he typically receives in the mail," but police say it that was not the cast.

Instead, the contents of the package exploded on Alden, injuring both of his hands, his face and his upper body.

Just before noon, police reported, "At this time, it has been determined that the package was a device; the intent was for the package to explode when it was opened. Our bomb squad is currently working on the specifics of the device. The motive is unknown; it has not been determined why the complainant may have been targeted."

That victim had been expecting his asthma medication.

Earlier, FOX 29 investigative reporter Dave Schratwieser reported the device was victim-activated and the explosion was not set off by a phone or any other device.

Also, the package was specifically meant for the individual who opened it. His name has not been released.

"As far as I know, there were no threats prior to this and no threats since," Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

Authorities do not believe the package was delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, and say it had a very old barcode on it.

Authorities are checking surveillance cameras in the area to look for any sign of an individual carrying a package.

FOX 29 News was first at the scene in the 1800 block of Pine Street near Rittenhouse Square, where several roads were closed since the area is considered a crime scene.

The victim, who is in the catering business, is being treated for chest, hands and facial injuries.

At 5:30am, Chief Inspector Small offered preliminary information. Small said the victim’s roommate told police the victim opened the package he had received at about 5pm Monday.

That was in the first floor kitchen of the four-story brick rowhome, and where it exploded. There was broken glass.

The victim suffered injuries and bleeding to both of his hands, and also his chest. He never lost consciousness and FOX 29’s Steve Keeley reported he even went to the bathroom to start cleaning himself up. He’s in the hospital, in stable condition.

Small said the victim does get inhalers delivered regularly for his asthma.

All people in the building who’d been evacuated have been allowed back.

Police, the fire department, ATF representatives and even postal inspectors were at the scene, but the Philadelphia bomb squad is the lead agency investigating.

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