WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – UPDATE (06/16/20) – West Valley City police said investigators determined the explosion was caused by an auto part malfunction.
West Valley City Police Department is investigating a “suspicious” incident after a family reported an explosive device left underneath their car.
“I heard this loud sound — a loud bang — a loud explosion. My wife said, Robert what is that?”
The incident happened on June 2, according to Robert Burch, but he didn’t feel comfortable speaking out about it until now.
Burch said he and his wife were about to drive to a neighbor’s house, and when she started the car there was a “loud bang.”
“All of this white smoke starts coming from underneath the car,” Burch told ABC4 News.
Initially, Burch thought something was wrong with the tires or the ignition because something “fell from underneath the wheel.”
“Can you describe what it was?” asked ABC4’s Brittany Johnson.
“Some little plastic filter. The bag was torn into a couple of pieces and some black pieces of plastic,” he responded.
Burch said he thought they were car part so he took them to an auto shop and a dealership for help.
“We showed the people at the dealership and the guy said this has nothing to do with your exhaust, nothing to do with your fuel line or anything. And then I thought, maybe we should take this to the police because clearly what we thought has happened didn’t happen.”
Burch went to the West Valley City Police Department to file a police report. ABC4 News obtained a copy of the report, which investigators labeled as a “suspicious circumstance/explosive device.”
“They took some photographs of the area and they did notice some small white burn marks on the asphalt in front of the house, about the size of a dime or so,” said Roxeanne Vianuku, Public Information Officer for West Valley City Police.
“It never occurred to me that somebody might have put something under the car. I just thought something happened to the car,” said Burch.
Burch said he’s trying to figure out why he and his wife might have been targeted, but whatever the reason, Burch said he isn’t mad.
“It’s just kind of a numbing feeling and I think that’s how I felt for a long time, just kind of a numb feeling. Not so much anger or fear, just that, why are you taking this out on us and why do you have my wife so upset?”
Vianuku said this is an open and active investigation but investigators are having a hard time tracking down a suspect(s) because there are no cameras in the area or witnesses.
“If you have that kind of anger, animosity, frustration, whatever it is that’s in your life, you need to find help for yourself, because it’s not me,” Burch said.
If you noticed anything suspicious on or around June 2, call West Valley City Police at (801) 840-4000.