Pipe bomb-like explosion damages Md. police SUV

Multiple ATF agents responded early Wednesday

By Jeremy Arias
The Frederick News-Post

THURMONT, Md. — A metal pipe bomb-like device was set off and damaged a Thurmont police vehicle early Wednesday, according to the department.

Residents began calling 911 at about 12:30 a.m. near Clark Avenue after hearing what sounded like an explosion, according to a news release from the police department. A woman noticed that a Thurmont police vehicle parked nearby was damaged and alerted authorities, who found that an explosive device of some kind had been detonated, said Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler.

"One of my officers went to his residence and parked his cruiser on the street as he usually does at about midnight and then around 12:30, one of the neighbors heard a big explosion. ... It looked like a metal pipe bomb was detonated on the hood and the windshield of the cruiser," Eyler said.

No one was hurt by the explosion. Thurmont police were receiving assistance from the Frederick County Fire Marshal's Office, the county sheriff's office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Eyler said.

Remnants of the explosive device were recovered from the SUV, a marked Chevrolet Tahoe, and authorities were trying to determine the components of the device, Eyler said.

"We'll be checking numerous hardware stores to maybe see where the metal pipe was purchased from. ... We're just trying to get everything together," Eyler said. "It's still a very preliminary investigation at this point."

Multiple ATF agents, including an explosives enforcement officer, a certified explosives specialist and a special agent K-9 handler, responded early Wednesday, said David Cheplak, a public information officer for the ATF's Baltimore field office.

"We're going to provide all the resources that we have. Speaking in generalities, we have our national laboratory relatively close by in Beltsville, Maryland," Cheplak said. "So we'll be able to take any evidence that may be available and put that in the hands of our experts that work these types of incidents."

Eyler confirmed that evidence collected from the scene was being taken to the ATF laboratory in Beltsville for further analysis.  

Anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area or who can help police with the investigation was asked to call the Thurmont Police Department at 301-271-0905.

Copyright 2016 The Frederick News-Post

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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