Crownsville man finds object that looks like bomb in storage

January 22, 1998|By Neal Thompson | Neal Thompson,SUN STAFF Richard Irwin contributed to this article.

A Crownsville man sorting abandoned property he bought at an Annapolis storage facility found what appeared to be a bomb yesterday.

The man called Anne Arundel County police about 2 p.m. and for the next six hours, the Storage USA facility in the 2000 Trout Road near the 2000 block of Generals Highway was teeming with activity.

Employees of nearby offices were evacuated, county public works crews trucked in sandbags and the storage area near Annapolis Mall soon swarmed with bomb squads and fire investigators.

Battalion Chief John Scholz of the county fire department, said a robot removed the device from a box, divided it into three parts and fired shotgun blasts at each section, causing explosions he described as "minor to significant."

No injuries were reported, and damage was confined to the "improvised explosive device," Scholz said.

He said that what was left of the device was taken to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms laboratory in Rockville for examination.

The boxes and other contents of the garage-sized storage space had belonged to a man who failed to pay his monthly fee, which prompted Storage USA to auction the contents.

Chet Podd, senior district manager of Storage USA, said that, by law, the company can sell property left by people who are 65 days late in paying their bills, but that the company usually allows three months before auctioning goods.

Police did not identify the delinquent renter. But the winning bidder was identified as Charles Resch of Crownsville, who got more than he expected.

Scholz said the alleged bomb appeared to be homemade. "It's not commercial, it's not military, so we're calling it an improvised explosive device," Scholz said.

Pub Date: 1/22/98

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