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Crime Trackers: Juveniles arrested for setting off explosives in Oro Valley

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ORO VALLEY -

A series of explosions in an Oro Valley neighborhood shook residents and kept them on edge for weeks.

It started in August in the Rancho Vistoso area. The last one went off on Tuesday. That's when Oro Valley police and the Pima Regional Bomb Squad made four arrests.

Residents who live in live in the area said this has always been a quiet and peaceful neighborhood. The recent explosions had them concerned.

Leonard Blade has lived in the neighborhood since 1999. He said one of the explosions was so loud, “I came right off the couch because I didn't know if it was at my front door or where it was because it was that loud.”

The explosion came from three doors down. 

“We could see the smoke and smell the smoke coming from neighbor's yard down there,” said Blade.

Across the street , neighbor Victor Quintanar also heard the explosion. 

“It sounded like a high-powered gun going off,” said Quintanar.

Quintanar said The Pima Regional Bomb Squad showed up.

“They found evidence of a homemade explosives which looked like a pen wrapped in electrical tape," said Quintanar. "They found chunks of it in front of their house my house.”

According to an Oro Valley police report, three juveniles were arrested on Tuesday after a resident, who was harassed by constant door bell ringing, sat in his vehicle to observe the neighborhood from his driveway.

“He saw a light and then heard an explosion," Sgt. Carmen Trevizo said. "He actually went out, and approached the juveniles and they ran from him.”

Trevizo said he called 911 because Oro Valley had  extra patrols in the area. They were there within minutes and found the juveniles.

They were all dressed in black.

“Their ages were 11, 12 and 14," she said. "Unfortunately in that age, they just make poor choices.”

On Thursday, they made a fourth arrest. They arrested a 17-year-old male who detectives said showed the younger boys how to make the explosive devices. Detectives said he even provided some of the devices.

“That was really concerning because you expect that kind of behavior from an 11 or 12-year-old, but certainly a 17-year-old should know better than to frighten an entire neighborhood for several months,” said Sgt. Trevizo.

Residents were relieved to hear about the arrests. 

“The Oro Valley police are really on the ball as far as I’m concerned,” Blade said.

Some residents were also questioning where are their parents and what are the parents doing. The incidents all occurred during the evening hours.

“Not only are the kids putting people in danger with these explosives, but they could blow a hand off or get injured,” said Quintanar.

Police said this neighborhood is a great example of how working together they can make Oro Valley a safer place.  

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