Bomb squad detonates pipe bombs found in Pacheco

January 19, 2011 1:54:58 PM PST
A tense scene in Pacheco unfolded Tuesday evening when police uncovered pipe bombs inside a storage locker.

Thousands of Bay Area commuters got home late, but they got home safely after five pipe bombs were found not far from the freeway. They were in a self-storage facility and the bomb squad destroyed four of those devices along I-680, so they had to take precautions and shut the highway down.

Police believe at least one of three people arrested knows more than she's saying about these pipe bombs.

"It was about 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter and 8 inches long," said Cmdr. Norm Wielshone, a Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team member.

Rush hour traffic along I-680, near Concord Avenue, came to complete halt.

"It could blow up the entire building. They're very, very dangerous. That's why we ended up the shutting down the freeway," said Wielshone.

The Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team says an informant led them to a storage unit where they encountered a young woman from the Martinez area. She let them search her 10 by 15 foot unit, then denied knowing anything about the backpack filled with four pipe bombs. A fifth one was found nearby.

"She was clean looking, nicely dressed, nice car, had no reason to believe other than it's a woman being evicted from her house," said Les Stevens, the Affordable Storage manager.

Stevens says she rented the unit on December 15th and signed a contract that prohibited the storage of certain items. He says the following are not allowed in the storage unit: "Weapons of mass destruction, drugs, alcohol, kids, pets, ex-boyfriends and ex-husbands."

Stevens says it's not the first time he's had pipe bombs and other contraband discovered in his storage units. He says it's common.

"When they bombed Oklahoma, where was the stuff at? In a storage unit. You can put anything in there. Nobody knows about it except the person putting it in there because you can't, I personally can't stand there and watch them load in and out," said Stevens.

An unidentified man and woman were also arrested nearby. They say they are friends of the suspect. They were charged for possession of methamphetamine, but police don't believe they know anything about the pipe bombs. As the search of this storage unit continues the big question is what was the intention behind these bombs and are there any more out there? Those answers may come as soon as the search concludes.

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