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Toy car linked to Monroe car bombing case

Police hope new information will lead to new tips

DETROIT – Federal investigators said a comb bombing that nearly killed a father and his two sons in Monroe was built with parts of a radio controlled toy car.

"The destructive device that detonated used components from a radio controlled RC toy manufactured under the name Electrix RC," said David McCain, special agent in charge for the Detroit ATF.

Attorney Erik Chappell was injured in the September 2011 explosion, along with his 11 and 13-year-old sons. Chappell was driving the boys to football practice when the bomb was detonated on Elm Street at I-75.

According to McCain, the radio controlled device could have been one of six models for the toy car, which sells for about $130.

The toys are sold at seven stores in the Detroit area, including Rainy Day Hobbies in Ferndale.

Rainy Day Hobbies' Manager Otto Nicholas said the FM signal for the toy car has a long range.

"In a normal residential area, an area of about two or three city blocks. It could go that far and still be controlled," said Nicholas. "So you don't have to be near it."

Chappell recently told reporters he believes he knows who targeted him, though he would not reveal a name. Investigators have used polygraphs to whittle down the list of persons of interest, but declined to give details.

According to a criminal profiler, the person responsible is probably self-centered, temperamental and abusive to his family. He would also be familiar with radio circuitry and metal work.

"This anger may color his thinking so that he blames others for perceived mistakes and shortcomings in his own life," said McCain.

The ATF hopes the new information about the toy will lead to more tips. The reward has also been doubled to $20,000.