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Security at Las Cruces Catholic Schools increase after bomb attacks

FILE: Las Cruces police secure the area after an explosive device was detonated outside a church.

It has been two years since two homemade bombs went off at two churches in Las Cruces. Law enforcement is still looking for who's responsible.

The FBI is offering $20,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or group responsible for the bombs. Two years ago, the first bomb went off around 8:20 a.m. at Calvary Baptist Church. It was a Sunday. Twenty minutes later, a detonation was reported at the Holy Cross Catholic Church. No one was hurt in either explosion, and the damage was minimal. The FBI said it's possible the two explosions are related.

Almost two weeks later on, Aug. 14, a device that had not been detonated was found at First Presbyterian Church. The FBI thinks that last bomb was placed the same day as the first two.

The FBI put out a poster offering the reward. The poster said there was a man recorded on surveillance video at Calvary Baptist Church around the time of the explosion. The FBI said he was carrying a package or bag, and was wearing plaid shorts, a blue short-sleeved T-shirt and hiking boots.

Las Cruces neighbors who remember the explosions said they hope the bomber is brought to justice.

"I thought it was really sad that people of faith would be targeted in this manner. I feel like that was really low and reprehensible," said David Medina, who was born and raised in Las Cruces. "I think there's a lot of resources in this country to try and find people. Then again, New Mexico we probably don't get as much priority as other parts of the country."

The principal for all Las Cruces Catholic Schools, Connie Limon, said she was there two years ago. Limon said the school changed a lot of things after the attack, including all teachers wearing identification vests. She said that she and all of the teachers keep their eyes open more, and are constantly thinking about safety.

"We have security now on campus. We didn't have that before. The doors are all secure with the cards to get in. They have to check in through the front. We've really tried to make sure we've provided a safe campus environment," Limon said. "We wish that it could be resolved by now to kind of put us at ease. But we just want to stay on our toes."

Limon said this horrific event has brought the community together, made the school safer, and made their faith stronger.

If you have any information that can help FBI, call the tipline at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

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