A metal document holder designed for installation on a semi truck was mistaken for a pipe bomb in Michigan on Tuesday, leading to the evacuation of a federal building.
The incident began on June 15th at around 9:55 a.m. in Marquette, Michigan.
According to Upper Michigan Source News, the object was sitting on a FedEx drop box in front of a Post Office and Federal Courthouse on Washington street when it was reported to police, who immediately worked to evacuate the courthouse and other businesses in the area as a precaution.
“Our concern was the for safety of everyone inside the federal courthouse and everybody inside the businesses in the surrounding area,” Capt. Laurila said.
Officers then used a K9 officer to determine that the object was not a threat, and eventually realized what the supposed pipe bomb actually was – a metal document holder designed to be mounted on the outside of a semi truck.
“It is a document, cargo holder that is typically affixed to the back of semi-tractor trailers that holds, for example, registration, work and things like that,” Laurila said. “It’s a tubular device with caps on both ends, so that was our concern at that particular time, that it wasn’t some type of explosive device. So, we wanted to make absolute certain, that it was in fact safe before we rerouted traffic back to normal and allowed people back to their businesses.”
Police say they aren’t sure where the object came from, but that the citizen who reported it did the right thing.
“We are not 100% certain where it came from. We’re assuming it fell off the back of a semi-tractor trailer and it was inadvertently picked up, and placed on top of the [FedEx drop] box, to get it out of the way for pedestrian traffic,” Laurila continued.
“It’s scary,” said local Ronald Jennings, who was sitting inside one of the evacuated buildings when the incident happened. “I didn’t think something like this would happen in Marquette but I guess it can happen anywhere.”
The evacuated buildings were reopened about an hour after the initial call, and the object is now being held at at the Marquette City Police Department for safe keeping.