The Chisago County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the North Branch Police Department, responded to two separate calls over the last two weeks of pipe bombs in Chisago County.
The first call came out on March 11. The Chisago County Emergency Communications Center received a call about a suspicious item on the side of Evergreen Avenue, between Rush Lake Road and Rush Point Drive in rural Rush City, according to a press release from the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office.
Upon arriving on scene, Rush City School Resource Officer Deputy Jessica Gage, secured the scene and made contact with district officials, who then rerouted school buses.
According to the press release, the St. Paul Bomb Squad was requested to assist and was able to defuse the bomb on the side of the road. The bomb was then taken into evidence for further analysis and processing.
“This is an excellent example of seeing something and saying something,” Capt. Derek Anklan said in the press release. “With community members quick to reach out to the Sheriff’s Office we were able to immediately and safely resolve this situation.”
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Investigator Dustin Swenson at 651-213-6355, or message the department through any of their social media platforms.
Only 10 days later, same call, different location
On March 21, at approximately 9:45 a.m., the North Branch Police Department received a similar call, a suspicious item on the side of 420th Street, approximately 1/2 mile east of Forest Boulevard.
According to a press release from the North Branch Police Department, Sgt. David Janssen arrived on scene and observed a white PVC pipe that appeared to be an improvised explosive device.
The St. Paul Bomb Squad was again contacted, and the area was secured.
According to the press release the bomb technician determined the device had been expended and was safe to collect for evidence.
“After the bomb technician examined it and determined that it was safe, it was disassembled and collected for evidence. The device had been detonated,” Janssen said.
While both calls could have become tragic, due to community awareness, the situations were able to be controlled.
“I will say that the person that called in the complaint did recognize what it most likely was and did the right thing by calling,” Janssen said. “Pipe bombs are easily recognized as they will be made with a pipe and to function must have both ends sealed with a cap of some type. If items fitting that description are seen it is best to stay well away from the device and contact law enforcement for their response.”
“Our biggest concern is that if someone sees something or someone suspicious to report it right away. Timely reports have a greater chance of being resolved one way or the other,” Janssen added.
Not only is there value in reporting incidents, but agencies working together to get situations under control is another factor in being able to control situations and minimize the effects.
“It is imperative that law enforcement agencies from around the state be able to work together and cooperate. The number of personnel needed to secure the scene on a rural road was three. I stayed with the device to make sure no one approached it and then two deputies closed the road down at other streets, allowing room for traffic to turn around,” Janssen said. “As for bomb squads, the amount of training, equipment, gear, and ATF rules that must be adhered to is extensive. So with the small amount of incidents that happen in our area, it makes it difficult to justify the expenditure. Fortunately, St. Paul Police Department’s Bomb Squad is always willing to help out.”
Both events are considered to be active investigations, and anyone with information is encouraged to contact the responding agencies.