FLINT TWP. — Police still are investigating the discovery last week of a live pipe bomb found in a storage area at the Western Pines Apartments, 2252 Noble Avenue, south of Corunna Road.
On Wednesday, December 9, police responded to a report of a possible pipe bomb found by a maintenance man in an unlocked area of one of the apartment buildings, according to a press release.
The Michigan State Police Bomb Squad responded and rendered the bomb safe. A K-9 handler and his partner from the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office also assisted with the investigation.
At last report, earlier this week, police had no suspects and the case remains under investigation.
MSP bomb squad technicians from the Bridgeport Post used a remote-controlled robot to grab the bomb and move it to a barricaded area for deactivation, according to Lt. Joshua Collins, MSP Bomb Squad Commander.
The robot is equipped with a saw used to cut the pipe in half, he said. The device was then turned over to police for further forensic investigation including fingerprinting and DNA analysis.
“Our role is purely to make them (bombs) safe or to determine they are not a threat,” Collins said.
Collins said the bomb was not large enough to blow up a building but capable of significantly damaging the room where it was found or starting a fire. Another serious concern would be metal fragments striking a person, if the bomb exploded.
He said it is believed an isolated incident though creating pipe bombs, which are simple devices, used to be a fairly prevalent pastime, particularly for juveniles.
Township police detective, Sgt. Kevin Salter said it is only the second such incident to happen in his 16 1/2 years with the department.
The MSP Bomb Squad consists of 15 members assigned to seven regional teams that respond statewide to suspected explosive devices and Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) incidents, according to information posted on the state web site. Squad members are “Certified Bomb Technicians” and “HAZMAT” Technician Level trained. Each team is equipped with specialized bomb squad and hazmat equipment including bomb suits, x-ray equipment, a robot, and an explosive containment transport vessel. The Bomb Squad reportedly responds to approximately 500 service calls each year.