Swedish authorities are on the hunt for a man who’s believed to be responsible for a massive explosion last week which left 16 people hospitalized, four with serious injuries, and an apartment block in a central residential area of Gothenburg ablaze.
Police so far have failed to locate the suspect, 55-year-old Mark Lorentzon, despite having carried out raids at several addresses across Gothenberg in the days following the blast. Although the search for Lorentzon has since expanded across Sweden, lead investigator Maria Thorell says evidence obtained by authorities suggests that Lorentzon is still in the Gothenburg area, Expressen reports.
Before the explosion, Lorentzon had been well-known to authorities. Earlier this fall, he was charged with repeatedly harassing the staff at his mother’s nursing home, and last Tuesday — the same day as the explosion — he was set to be evicted from his apartment building at 9:00 a.m., several hours after the blast occurred. Witnesses say that they saw Lorentzon leaving the scene just before the explosives detonated.
The property owner had allegedly been working to evict Lorentzon from the apartment for several months. The decision to finally evict him came at the end of June, according to the Swedish Enforcement Agency.
Last Thursday, two days after the explosion, while raids were taking place at Lorentzon’s friend’s apartment and his mother’s nursing home, police were forced to evacuate a health center in Oliedal in central Gothenburg after it received a bomb threat. The site was subsequently cordoned off and searched, but no explosives or other dangerous objects were recovered. Coincidentally, Lorentzon was spotted at the health center just before its evacuation.
Later, police confirmed that the bomb threat against the health center and the explosion at the apartment building in central Gothenberg were connected, noting that Lorentzon had made subsequent bomb threats.
“Extensive police work is underway with internal and external reconnaissance work. It is clear that he could’ve been able to make his way over to Denmark, but everything is controlled today. He is wanted in our systems, so if he were to board a flight, it would alert our computers,” said Christer Fuxborg, press spokesman for Police Region West.
In recent years, bombings have become part and parcel of day-to-day life in Sweden’s major cities. In 2019, a total of 257 bomb attacks were reported to Swedish police, up from 162 recorded in the previous year, figures from the National Council for Crime prevention revealed. Many have blamed the growing problem on the increased presence of migrant gangs throughout the once-tranquil country.
Sweden has also seen a massive increase in shootings, and according to statistics, has seen more deadly shootings than any other European country. It is also the only European country to see an increase in deadly shootings since 2000.
Last winter, two women — one in her 40s and another in her 80s — were injured after an explosive device was detonated inside of a care clinic in Gothenburg. A masked man was caught on camera walking toward the clinic just prior to the explosion. Shortly after, the explosive device was detonated inside one of the clinic’s bathrooms, and the suspected perpetrator was seen leaving the building.