Police ask for public's help IDing pipe bomb maker

Police hope someone can help them identify the person or people responsible for four pipe bombs found recently in parks and on roads in Maplewood.

Maplewood Police Chief Paul Schnell said a caller reported finding the first device near Four Seasons Park, southwest of Demont Avenue and Flandrau Street the afternoon of March 26.

"It was found near a trail alongside the road," he said.

The device was a short piece of PVC pipe - perhaps 3 or 4 inches long with a 1 1/2 inch radius - capped on both ends.

"It had a wick in it that appeared to have been ignited but did not detonate," Schnell said.

Maplewood police called in the St. Paul Bomb Squad, which secured the device.

The pipe reportedly contained some kind of powder; the bomb squad is still analyzing the substance.

A passerby found a second device March 28 in the same area, about 30 yards away from where the first was placed.

"This one was in the roadway on Flandrau," Schnell said.

Again, the bomb squad responded and secured the would-be explosive, which also had a burned wick but had not blown up.

Two more devices were discovered March 31 on the 1600 block of County Road C.

"They, too, appeared to have had an attempt to detonate the devices," Schnell said.

Again, the bomb squad recovered the devices.

Police are urging citizens to call 911 if they find similar or other suspicious devices.

"We want to tell people to stay back, well away from these things," Schnell said. "While all the devices we've located were wick-based - meaning they didn't have any electronic detonation capabilities - they still can be highly volatile."

Anyone with information that might help identify the bomb maker is asked to call 651-249-2600 to talk to an officer.

Schnell also recommends using the department's anonymous text tipline, by texting 847411, typing in "Maplewood" and sending in the tip.

"It's an active investigation and we're following some leads, but someone may have information that will help," he said.

-- Holly Wenzel


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