Homemade bomb burns woman’s car, says she was targeted by transients

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A homemade bomb, known as a Molotov cocktail, was used to try to terrorize a Northeast neighborhood. But one woman says she's not backing down from the fight.

A Molotov cocktail is a glass bottle filled with a flammable liquid like gasoline. It's often used in guerrilla warfare.

The smell of burnt plastic and toasted leather is all that's left of one woman’s Jeep as the result of a Molotov cocktail, strapped to a spray can. The destruction was a message for Jessie Mathews.

"That they're going to use those tactics to scare me and scare the residents of the Northeast," she said.

It happened Tuesday at 2 a.m. She says she's sure the fire was set by transients who live on the fringe of the Northeast community.
"I mean it was completely surreal. I had no idea what to do or think," said Mathews.

Someone threw the Molotov cocktail through the window of her Jeep. It landed on the driver's seat. It burned through all the leather. But the bomb didn't work. Had it exploded, the entire car would've gone up in flames and the neighboring cars would've been gone also.

"We have all had enough and my car being firebombed, I feel like is enough reason for us to be angry about it and to want something to be done about it," said Mathews.

Mathews noticed the growing homeless population disrupting the peace. When there's a disturbance, she called the police. And that's why she says she became a target.

"I'm pretty sure that's what happened. It was a final retaliation on their part," she described.

She says the homeless stay in the nearby woods and can find a meal only half a mile away. That's why they've populated the Northeast.

Elke Flaharty works at the Independence Blvd Christian Church. She says just last week 900 homeless people were fed.

"You'd have more crime if you didn't have people coming in and feeding these people and giving them something to do on a Monday night," said Flaharty.

Flaharty considers feeding the less fortunate a responsibility. But Mathews' responsibility is keeping her neighborhood safe.

"I'm not stepping down. I refuse to move for people who are not a part of this community," she said.