VIDEO: FBI and Homeland Security ask local businesses to help spot suspicious activity Federal agencies are turning to Central Florida businesses to help prevent bombings. (Christy Turner, WFTV.com/WFTV)
ORLANDO, Fla. — Federal agencies are turning to Central Florida businesses to help prevent bombings.
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The initiative is part of a new program they call “Operation Flashpoint.” This is a joint effort between the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to teach Central Florida businesses how to spot suspicious pipe bomb purchases.
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“They could potentially help law enforcement stop an attack before it happens,” Orange County Deputy Sheriff Mark Canty said.
Bombs can potentially be made with common household items like bleach or even nail polish remover, which can be found in almost any type of store.
According to the FBI, about 250,000 stores across the country sell materials that can be used to make explosives.
“Hardware, pool supplies, gun stores, sporting goods stores, fireworks stores,” said Charles Leas, section chief at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
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35 explosive-related incidents were reported in Florida last year. According to CISA data, there have been 381 such incidents nationwide.
“Bomb threats are a serious threat to local communities across the United States,” said CISA Executive Assistant Director for Infrastructure Security Dr. David Mussington.
A key part of countering domestic terrorism, Leas says, is raising awareness and reminding the community that if you see something suspicious, say something.
“Building a watchful network of eyes and ears across the country,” Leas said. “We try to make the community safer, but at the end of the day, we can only make it safe if you help us.”
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The Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Orlando Police Department are also participating in the campaign.
“Whenever we can partner with other law enforcement agencies, the community is much, much safer,” Canty said.
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