More than 3,225,000 pageviews from 150 countries


Friday, May 31, 2013

Disneyland Vendor Christian Barnes Plants Dry Ice Bomb in Mickey's Toonstown Section of Park

     At four in the afternoon of May 28, 2013, parents who had brought their children to Mickey's Toontown section of Anaheim, California's Disneyland, were startled by a small but loud explosion that tore the lid off a trash can near a kiddy ride called Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin. While no one suffered injuries from the blast, officials of the famous theme park evacuated the Toontown area. (How was Disneyland? Oh, we had a blast.)

     At the site of the low-order explosion, detectives found fragments of a plastic water bottle which led them to conclude that a so-called dry ice bomb had been the source of the explosion. A maker of such a device adds chunks of dry ice to a quarter-full bottle of water. Once sealed, the water warms the dry ice which produces carbon dioxide that builds inside the container and eventually ruptures the bottle. These simply made little bombs, if moved, can blow off the handler's fingers. As booby traps, dry ice bombs function as little anti-personnel devices.

     Because dry ice is used at Disneyland to keep refreshments like ice cream and sodas cold, detectives figured there was a good chance the bomber worked for the theme park. As it turned out, they were right.

     On Wednesday, May 29, 2013, officers with the Anaheim Police Department arrested a 22-year-old man from Long Beach named Christian Barnes. Barnes, a so-called "outdoor vending cast member," peddled soda drinks and bottled water from a mobile cart. Charged with possession of a destructive device in a public place, the Disneyland employee was booked into the Orange County Jail. A magistrate set his bond at $1 million.

     It's hard to imagine a rational motive for a crime like this. Some kid dropping a piece of garbage into that trash can could have lost his hand. The fact that Barnes worked at the theme park suggests he doesn't have a criminal record.

     On Thursday, May 30, Barnes pleaded not guilty to the felony charge that carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison. The judge reduced his bail to $500.000.

     Big theme parks have been relatively safe places from crime. Recently, at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, a grandmother, after getting off the Dinosaur ride, found a .380-caliber pistol on her seat. She handed the gun over to a park attendant. A few minutes later, a man returned to the site and claimed the weapon. It had fallen out of his pocket during the bumpy ride. Security personnel escorted him out of the park. (Who would go to a place inhabited by live, exotic animals and ride a fake Dinosaur?)

     The Disney Animal Kingdom incident exposes the reality that millions of people walk through hundreds of turnstiles into parks all over the country without being searched or exposed to metal detectors. There is no way to keep guns and dry ice bombs out of these places. If going to a theme park becomes as inconvenient and intrusive as getting on an airplane, Mickey and his friends will find themselves alone among the Roger Rabbit rides and phony dinosaurs.

UPDATE

     According to prosecutors, Barnes allegedly placed dry ice into two water bottles and locked one inside his vending cart. When a co-worker came to take over the cart, one of the bottles exploded. Barnes then took the second bottle and placed it in the trash can. That device went off a short time later after a park janitor removed the trash bag and put it on the ground.

     

No comments:

Post a Comment