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Security Guard Injured in Explosion at CBN

April 28, 1990 GMT

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) _ A bomb in a package addressed to the Rev. Pat Robertson exploded Friday at his Christian Broadcasting Network’s mailroom, injuring a security guard, CBN officials said.

Police confirmed there was a bombing but refused to release details. Robertson said the package was addressed to him, and suggested it could be related to recent attacks on a Houston preacher and gospel singer Sandi Patti. ″This could be part of a pattern of attacks against evangelical Christians,″ Robertson said.

The package had a North Carolina postmark and looked suspicious to station workers, said Frankie Abourjilie, a CBN spokeswoman.

Security guard Scott Scheepers was summoned, and the bomb exploded when he opened the package, Mrs. Abourjilie said.

Scheepers, 33, was taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, were he was in stable condition with shrapnel wounds in his left leg, said hospital spokeswoman Rhonda Hoover.

Scheepers, who estimated he has handled 75 to 80 suspicious packages, said from his hospital bed that he opened the brown-paper parcel only after checking it twice with an X-ray machine.

″It appeared to be safe, it wasn’t heavy at all,″ he said. ″I’d opened it about a half-inch and it just exploded.″

Robertson, a 1988 Republican presidential hopeful, noted two recent attacks - the explosion of a letter bomb at the church of the Rev. John Osteen of Houston that injured his daughter and an arson fire at the Indiana recording studio of gospel singer Sandi Patti.

″This is evidence of extreme hatred by some deranged individuals who want to silence the Christian voice in this country,″ Robertson said. ″They should realize that devices sent through the mail will never reach those for whom they are intended. Their victims will be innocent men and women who have devoted their lives to serving God.″

Virginia Beach police spokesman Lou Thurston declined to give details about Friday’s bomb.

″We don’t want to jeopardize our investigation or prosecution,″ Thurston said.

He said the explosion caused no damage but debris from the package was scattered about.

Participating in the investigation were officers of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the FBI, postal inspectors, state and city police and the city fire dpeartment.

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Robertson said the bomb was a ″crude device. If it had been a bit more sophisticated, it would have killed Scott.″

Robertson, whose ″The 700 Club″ TV program is seen by an estimated 965,000 households daily, said he did not plan to tighten security.

″What we have to recognize as Christians is we are in a spiritual battle. The work we are doing is effective but dangerous. It’s a front line activity,″ said Robertson, who noted he receives monthly death threats.

On Jan. 30, a shoebox size package exploded in the lap of Osteen’s daughter, Lisa, in Houston. She was not seriously injured. Houston police said the package was postmarked from North Carolina.

On April 17, Ms. Patti’s recording studio in Anderson, Ind., was heavily damaged by arson. An anonymous caller claiming to represent a group called the Equal Religious Coalition claimed responsibility for the blaze and said the studio was burned because Ms. Patti ″put herself on the pedestal of God.″

Police in Anderson said they had never heard of the group but were taking the claims seriously.