HIGH SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) - A weekly newspaper received a bomb in its drop box Tuesday morning, causing the newspaper and surrounding businesses to be evacuated, sheriff's deputies said.
Placed in a plastic bag, the device was put in the drop box of The High Springs Herald and brought inside Tuesday morning by an unsuspecting employee, Alachua County sheriff's Sgt. Keith Faulk said.
Another employee then looked inside the bag and recognized it as a bomb, Faulk said.
Faulk declined to give specifics about the bomb but said it "had all the components to be a destructive device."
Mark Fasano, a Herald staff writer, said the bomb was a PVC pipe capped at both ends and filled with gas. The device was wired to a timer that was connected to a lantern battery.
Deputies and town police isolated the building, cordoned off the road and evacuated the surrounding businesses. The bomb was then safely detonated in a yard behind the building by the sheriff's bomb squad.
Fasano said there were only three or four people at the paper when the bomb was found. The Herald has a full-time staff of six and a circulation of 5,000. It serves the town of 3,800 residents and the surrounding area about 65 miles southwest of Jacksonville.
"I came in and they said that someone tried to bomb the building and I laughed." Fasano said. "I thought they were joking."
Ed Barber, the Herald's publisher, issued a statement calling Tuesday's events "surrealistic, frightening and infuriating."
"We will continue to write and publish what we feel is needed to properly inform our readers," said Barber, who also publishes the Independent Florida Alligator, a student-run newspaper that covers the University of Florida.
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Pieces of the bomb have been sent to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for analysis. There are no suspects, Faulk said.