By Victor A. Patton
Merced Sun-Star, Calif.
MERCED, Calif. - The Merced Police Department's Bomb Squad was dispatched to a residence near Golden Valley High School on Wednesday after a resident reported seeing an object which resembled a pipe bomb in front of a home.
Police closed a section of Childs Avenue off for nearly two hours and detonated the object at 1:50 p.m. without incident, using a remote control bomb robot.
Lt. Floyd Higdon of the Merced Police Department said the department received the call from the concerned homeowner at 11:50 a.m.
Although police are not sure if the object was indeed an explosive, Officer Dan Dabney said it had all of the characteristics of a small pipe bomb: three to four inches in length, built with heavy duty PVC pipe and capped off at both ends.
Dabney said the object also was suspicious because it had Velcro tape on the ends. He said no one knows why the object was in front of the house or how it got there.
"It could have fallen from a vehicle or it could have been thrown from a vehicle," Dabney said.
Although police receive an average of two to three calls about suspicious objects every month, Dabney said the prevalence of information about how to make pipe bombs on the Internet means police are being extra careful.
"Kids are making these things more often. So when we see things like this we take all of the precautionary measures," Dabney said.
Members of the Merced Fire Department also responded to the scene and stood by while police detonated the object.
Police also notified administrators at the high school to keep students on campus while the bomb squad addressed the situation, Higdon said.
Copyright 2007 Merced Sun-Star (California)
Calif: Device resembling pipe bomb found, detonated