IEDs explode at Lake Wales mall

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Two improvised explosive devices detonated Sunday evening inside the Eagle Ridge Mall, police say.

Lake Wales firefighters say they were called to the mall at 5:22 p.m. for an alarm. While they were heading to the mall, the call changed to a structure fire.

Once on scene, fire units found smoke coming from a corridor located next to the mall entrance of JCPenney. Firefighters said they discovered the improvised explosive devices had been detonated in corridor. They also found a backpack in the same corridor officers thought had other possible improvised explosive devices in it, but later determined it did not.

Late Sunday night, police said the devices were flares wrapped in electrical tape inside a plastic pipe. They were then ignited and set off.

Authorities were still inside mall Sunday night with dogs going from store to store, searching for more devices.

There were no injuries as a result of the explosion but there was minimal damage to a drop ceiling and possibly to the corridor wall. Eagle Ridge Mall was evacuated.

Lake Wales police, the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the State Fire Marshal and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad responded. The Lake Wales Police Department is conducting the criminal investigation. It's unclear how the IEDs ignited and no other devices were found inside or outside the mall, police say. 

Investigators say there is nothing 

Based on information provided by witnesses, investigators said they are looking for a person of interest who is described as a middle-aged white male, with a "heavy/stocky build," wearing a gray shirt and a gray hat.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact Lake Wales Police Detective Whitney Dukes at (863) 678-4223 or Heartland Crime Stoppers at (800) 226-8477.