A pipe bomb that exploded behind a Westminster apartment building late Monday night sent shrapnel flying into nearby cars and an apartment, but injured no one, authorities said.
Westminster police said Tuesday that they were searching for two men seen in a car near the bomb site "seconds before" the explosion.
The bomb was left on the hood of a small pickup truck, parked behind the Casa Tiempo apartments on Heil Avenue, alongside the San Diego Freeway near Magnolia Avenue, Police Officer Larry Woessner said.
It exploded shortly after 11:15 p.m., startling residents and sending up a thick cloud of smoke.
Sounded Like Shotgun
"Everybody in the complex heard it," said Peter Zani, whose balcony overlooks the parking area where the bomb exploded. "At first, we thought it was somebody with a shotgun. It (sounded) like a 12-gauge going off; it was very loud."
Three chunks of metal from the bomb tore into an apartment near the parked truck. Two fragments broke a bedroom window, and a third penetrated an exterior wall, apartment manager Rowland Norminton said.
The blast woke Pam Aleson and her husband, who were sleeping in that bedroom. One of the fragments tore her curtains and hit the wall over her bed. Although she spent the rest of the night at her in-laws, she said, "I didn't get any sleep last night. I'm still scared."
The explosion damaged the small white truck on which it was placed, and riddled a second car with holes and dents. The truck belongs to a house painter who lives in the apartment complex.
Speculation of Neighbors
Neighbors speculated that revenge may have been behind the bombing. "We will be investigating that possibility," Woessner said.
Woessner said police were searching Tuesday for two suspects seen in either an orange Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Nova. "They were seen near the pickup truck seconds before the explosion," he said.
"An upstairs (neighbor) saw some people around the car beforehand. From that, we got a description," he said.
The Sheriff's Department bomb squad will try to determine the size and composition of the bomb by piecing it back together, said Charlie Stumph, a bomb squad investigator.
"We picked up some fragments of pipe," Stumph said, but found "nothing big enough to find a definite size (of the bomb) yet. . . . We've got all the pieces here."