Authorities inched a bit closer to deducing who delivered a bomb to a Center City man last week, releasing photos and video Thursday of a suspect caught on area security cameras leaving the device on his doorstep.
Jim Alden, 60, was seriously wounded early Nov. 22 when he opened a padded envelope, addressed to him, that he believed contained his asthma medication. Instead, the package was a homemade bomb triggered to explode upon opening, and the blast and shrapnel injured his face, chest, arms and left hand.
Alden told investigators he doesn’t know who would target him or why. Police have determined the package was not delivered by a U.S. postal carrier. They said they haven’t ruled out the possibility that this was a hate crime, because Alden is gay and had a rainbow Love Trumps Hate sign in the window of his first-floor apartment on Pine Street near 18th.
Alden, a California native who now works at the Warwick Rittenhouse Hotel in the banquet department, had just returned home from visiting friends in New York when he opened the package.
Essam Rabadi, special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said investigators continue to study the device — whose bits detectives were able to collect because it detonated in the closed environment of Alden’s kitchen — for clues to identify its creator.
The suspect is described as an Asian man wearing a dark-colored, “Elmer Fudd-style” hat with ear flaps and a baseball cap underneath, a blue jacket, blue jeans, and white sneakers. He also was carrying a bag.
Investigators asked anyone with information about the bombing or who may recognize the suspect to call (215) 686-TIPS. A $10,000 reward is being offered for tips leading to the suspect’s arrest and conviction.
More than 300 people have donated more than $20,000 on an online YouCaring fundraising campaign established to help cover Alden’s mounting medical expenses.
On that fundraising page, Alden thanked his supporters, writing:
“I’m happy to be resting at home and feeling a little bit better. My life changed on that day, and I still face more surgeries to deal with the significant damage to my left hand. The ‘shrapnel’ damage to my face, chest and arms is slowly healing, and a blister on my ear drum is affecting my hearing, but is supposed to heal. At this point, I only know that I have a long road ahead of me, and I will likely be unable to work for quite some time. Because I would never want to impede or interfere with the local, state and federal investigators who are working hard to solve this crime, I’m unable to provide an update on the criminal investigation. I will leave that up to those professionals. What I want to say at this point is how overwhelmed I have been at the outpouring of love and support that I’ve received from my partner, family, friends, and coworkers.”
Clarification: This story has been updated to make clear that the bomb was delivered by an individual, not the U.S. Postal Service or another delivery service.