Woman jailed after pipe bombs found in storage

Debra Lynn Cole is being held in the Contra Costa County jail in Martinez, on $500,000 bail.

January 19, 2011 5:33:46 PM PST
Police are still trying to figure out why a 40-year-old Concord woman had five pipe bombs in a rented storage locker in Pacheco.

Debra Lynn Cole is being held in the Contra Costa County jail in Martinez, on $500,000 bail. Cole is charged with possession of an explosive device for the four pipe bombs found inside a backpack inside a locker she rented at Affordable Storage on North 1st Avenue. A fifth bomb was found outside the backpack.

"They varied in sizes from 4 or 5 inches to 8 inches. Inside one of the pipe bombs, we're checking to see if they were in more, we found glass shards. Specifically, when it explodes it was meant to hurt someone when those shards come out of the pipe bomb," Commander Norman Wielsch with the Contra Costa Narcotic Enforcement Team said.

Wielsch says one of the devices contained broken glass shards intended to injure people. Wielsch described Cole as a transient in the area, known to local police for theft-related issues. Two others arrested at the storage facility have been released and are not believed to be connected to the explosives in any way. A small amount of methamphetamine was also located at the storage unit.

Tuesday afternoon, the area around Affordable Storage was evacuated and traffic halted on Interstate 680, while the Walnut Creek Police Department Bomb Squad detonated each of the devices.

Affordable Storage manager Les Stevens said Cole rented the storage locker on Dec. 15, paying the $16 promotional price for the first month. The second month's rent of $140 was due Jan. 15 and Cole was late on that payment. Stevens said Cole visited the unit often, sometimes 15 or 20 times in a single day.

Wielsch says his agents are trying to determine the purpose of the explosives and Cole is not cooperating with investigators.

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