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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

'Bomb' not what it seemed

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Andy McCammon photo

Indiana State Police bomb technician Chad Hilton (right) inspects the components of an apparent bomb found at the intersection of 1st and Ohio streets in Terre Haute Monday morning. Terre Haute Police Chief George Ralston said that while the device had no explosive capabilities, its maker intended it to resemble a pipe bomb.

A bomb scare that prompted the evacuation of a Terre Haute construction site Monday has been ruled a hoax, according to Terre Haute Police Chief George Ralston.

A member of a construction crew working on the site of the new Vigo County Correctional Community Center called 911 at around 8 a.m. Monday to report an object that appeared to be a bomb. The device had been placed about a foot from the curb on the southeast corner of 1st and Ohio streets, Ralston said.

A team of investigators comprising members of the Terre Haute Police Department, the Vigo County Sheriff's Department and the Indiana State Police determined that the device, a length of metal pipe that had been capped at both ends, possessed no explosive capabilities. Ralston confirmed, though, that whoever deposited the device near the construction site intended to cause a commotion.

"It wasn't a bomb, but somebody put it there for it to look like one," Ralston said.

Construction workers from Bacon and VanBuskirk Glass Companies and Lough Bros. Roofing and Siding Company were promptly evacuated, Ralston said. An initial assessment of the apparent pipe bomb, including an X-ray, was inconclusive.

"We couldn't determine the nature of the device from the X-rays, so we went ahead and rendered it," said Indiana State Police bomb technician Chad Hilton.

Some of the workers suspected the device was simply construction-related waste, just another piece of the assorted debris that routinely accumulates on construction sites.

"I thought it was something somebody had dropped, maybe a plumber (who was) toting something," said Gordy Powell of Lough Bros. "It could have been anything."

The investigation caused police to close Ohio Street between 1st and 3rd streets, and a one block area surrounding the construction site was cordoned off for the duration of the investigation. Crews were allowed to return to work at around 10:30 after a two-and-a-half hour delay, Ralston said. No evacuations were ordered at nearby buildings, including the Vigo County Court House, several restaurants and an apartment complex.

Police have not named any suspects in the case, and a full investigation into the matter is underway.

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