Olympic bomb probe focuses on 12-volt battery
September 20, 1996
From Correspondent Art Harris
ATLANTA (CNN) -- Officials of the Eveready Battery Company said Friday they were trying to help the FBI find the store that sold a 12-volt battery believed to have been used in the Centennial Olympic Park bombing.
"We were contacted by the FBI and we have been cooperating," a company official told CNN. In recent days the FBI has focused its investigation on an Eveready battery it believes detonated three pipe bombs that were taped together.
Meanwhile, the only named suspect in the bombing told CBS' Mike Wallace that he believes political considerations have driven the case.
"If they wanted something to be inconspicuous, they would have never leaked me to the press," said Richard Jewell in an interview that will be televised Sunday night on "60 Minutes."
"They wanted people of the Olympics to feel safe. They wanted it to be public. Have you ever seen an FBI investigation this public?" Jewell asked.
Jewell is the former security guard who first spotted the unattended knapsack containing the bomb and helped direct people away from it. He was named as a suspect three days later, after being hailed as a hero.
Jewell has denied planting the device, and no charges have been filed against him.
Recently, agents have focused their investigation on the battery. They are trying to link bomb components to a Sewell Hardware chain in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Owner Worley Sewell told CNN affiliates WXIA-TV in Atlanta and WPTV in West Palm Beach that he was informed the battery was traced to his chain by its lot number. Sewell said the battery -- model 732, a type used for lanterns -- was in a shipment of 24 batteries delivered to his chain earlier this year.
Later, however, authorities said the 3-pound battery might have come from somewhere else. Eveready says it annually ships more than 1.5 billion alkaline batteries throughout North America, but the company would not say how many of those were the 12-volt model 732, which sells for about $15.
If the date of manufacture is known, the battery could be traced to distributors around the country, a company source told CNN.
The July 27 explosion killed a Georgia woman and injured 111 people. A Turkish cameraman died of a heart attack while rushing to cover the scene.
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