Customers Shrug Off Car Bomb At Mall Few People Seem Concerned About Thursday's Explosion At Valley Forge Mall. The Investigation Is Continuing.

Posted: June 13, 2000

EAST PIKELAND — Some say they don't know; others say they don't care.

That's roughly how customers' responses have broken down in the days following a pipe-bomb explosion that tore through the roof of a pale blue 1965 Buick in the parking lot of a local mall on Thursday.

"You can't live your life in fear," said Betty Cardilly, 49, of Phoenixville, yesterday. She seemed more concerned about getting to the air-conditioned lobby of the Valley Forge Mall on Route 23 than with having her car explode. "Besides, nobody got hurt."

Nearly everyone interviewed yesterday shrugged at the mention of the incident.

"Frankly, I was more concerned about the media frenzy," said Joseph Wilt, manager of Earth's Corner Jewelers.

No one was hurt when a pipe bomb exploded Thursday morning, the fourth explosion in the area in recent months. Police said there were no suspects in the case.

The agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Chester County Detectives who had milled about in a distant corner of the lot the following day were gone by yesterday, as was most of the debris from the pipe bomb.

Chief County Detective Al DiGiacomo said the investigation remained a priority.

"There's nothing new right now," DiGiacomo said yesterday. "This case will not be closed unless there's apprehension."

ATF Agent Darrell G. O'Connor said that officials had received calls on the tip line.

"We are evaluating and investigating everything," he said.Inside the mall's lobby, Stephen Ciotti, 42, said several vendors who work with him live outside the area and had called him after seeing the news the evening before.

Richard Kimball, 33, of Morgantown, Pa., standing behind a glass case filled with the rookie cards of star athletes, said there was little buzz about the blast.

"I haven't heard anyone talking about it so far," he said, adding that business was the same, perhaps a little better.

Some mall shoppers still hadn't heard about the explosion.

"Great. My truck's in the parking lot," said Stephanie Horning, who was shopping inside the Ames discount department store with her 4-year-old daughter, Sierra. "Come on, we're leaving."

"Well, I didn't know about the ones at Tarrytowne," Kari Newman, of Phoenixville, said, referring to the April explosion in the parking lot of Tarrytowne Hardware across the street that destroyed a 1991 Dodge Colt.

"I thought twice about coming here today," she said.

Several shoppers said they did not realize they were at the mall they saw on the news until they pulled into the parking lot.

"Oh my Lord, I just realized it," Bill Proitle of Pottstown said.

Authorities are offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

The Citizens Crime Commission is offering a $6,000 reward. Anyone with information is asked to call 215-546-TIPS.

The ATF is offering a $5,000 reward. The bureau's tip line is 1-888-283-2662.

Christopher Merrill's e-mail address is cmerrill@phillynews.com

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