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Pipe bomb/present found near West Salem

POLK COUNTY -- Oregon State Police disposed of a live pipe bomb made to look like a Christmas gift found on a stretch of road near West Salem on Dec. 23.

December 31, 2012

POLK COUNTY -- Oregon State Police disposed of a live pipe bomb made to look like a Christmas gift found on a stretch of road near West Salem on Dec. 23.

"There's no reason to wrap it other than disguising it," said Polk County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Isham. "You have a little kid attracted to it or somebody else pick it up ... I think that the intent was to hurt somebody."

A motorist stopped at the intersection of Orchard Heights Road and 38th Avenue at about 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 23 after noticing something on the road that resembled a package in green and red wrapping paper, Isham said.

The passerby called 9-1-1 after inspecting the object further and noticing a 4-inch-long fuse sticking out of it, Isham said.

The sheriff's office responded, then contacted the Oregon State Police bomb squad. Authorities blocked traffic at the site and used specialized equipment to move the object down the road and detonate it.

"They advised that it was indeed a pipe bomb," Isham said. "I don't know how powerful it was or what might have happened if it went off in an open environment.

"You've heard about pipe bombs in brief cases or backpacks; I've never seen one disguised as a Christmas gift," he added.

Evidence from the bomb and the scene were taken to an OSP crime lab for testing. Isham said the sheriff's office has no leads on suspects.

"In this day and age," citizens should be cautious about approaching, let alone handling something that looks out of place, Isham said.

"Sometimes it takes a little movement to set something like that off or it can be packed around for a while," he said. "That's what makes it dangerous."

Anyone with information regarding this case should contact the Polk County Sheriff's Office at 503-623-9251.

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