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On June 8, 2016 at approximately 4:08 p.m., the Evanston Police and Fire Departments were called to the Target Store in the 2200 block of Howard Street for a minor explosion that occurred in the women’s bathroom, said Commander Joseph Dugan of the Evanston Police Department. There were no reported injuries and the damage was confined to a stall inside the bathroom. Police and Fire personnel secured the scene and requested assistance from the Cook County Bomb Squad prior to collecting any evidence. A preliminary examination revealed the explosion may have initiated from a plastic bottle that was observed in the stall. There were no threats or other suspicious activity prior to, or since the incident occurred, he said. 

Based on witness accounts and video footage, detectives took a 44-year old female Chicago resident into custody, said the Commander. Through the course of the investigation, it was determined that the woman was inside the stall at the time the incident occurred. Also recovered in the bathroom were items that are commonly combined in a method to produce a chemical high, but during the mixture process can become volatile and explode. The woman was not injured in the incident and left the scene prior to the arrival of the police and fire department, said the Commander. 

Upon reviewing the facts of the investigation, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s felony review unit approved charging the woman with Aggravated Arson, a Class X Felony, and Unlawful Possession of Explosive or Incendiary Device, a Class 1 Felony. There is no factual evidence that was uncovered during this investigation that points toward this incident being related to any policies of the Target store or a hate crime, said the Commander.  

“The Evanston Police Department would like to thank the witnesses, employees of Target, Cook County Bomb and Arson Unit and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office for their assistance and cooperation, as well as thank the residents and local media for their patience during the investigative process,” said Commander Dugan.