UPDATE with Video: Pipe Bomb Scare Hits 'Too Close to Home' Day After Boston Marathon Explosions

Police blocked off the 2300 block of Royal Drive on Tuesday after a pipe bomb was found in the area.

An earlier version of this story said the pipe bomb was laying a block east of Seerley Boulevard. It should have said a block north. Patch regrets the error.

Update 2:40 p.m.

Cedar Falls Police Chief Jeff Olson said it's unclear when a pipe bomb that was detonated on Royal Drive this afternoon may have been placed there.

"It was down in the storm drain. That doesn’t mean it was there today. It could have been placed some time ago. That has yet to be determined," he said.

He said the device, "was wet but it was fairly clean." He said it wasn't clear whether the pipe bomb's cleanliness meant it had been placed there recently or if it had been washed clean by water in the drains.

And it definitely was a pipe bomb, he said.

"It’s your standard, typical pipe bomb that you’d probably see on websites," he said, speaking to the press after the device was detonated in a front yard in the 2300 block of Royal Drive, a block north of Seerley Boulevard.

He said at about 8 a.m., members of the public works department were checking storm drains when they saw they device. Suspicous of what it might be, they called the police, who in turn called the Waterloo bomb squad.

The fire department and state troopers were also on the scene. Olson said the FBI was also called.

A robot picked up the device and placed it in sandbags before the controlled detonation at around 1:20 p.m.

The bomb was metal with PVC elements, he said. A camera on a robot that approached the device indicated the scene was safe after the controlled detonation, but the next step was to have a person confirm that, he said.

Then the device would be analyzed and workers would check the neighborhood for any other suspicious items. After the neighborhood check, Olson said people who had been evacuated would likely be allowed to return to their homes.

"We’re all thinking about Boston, we’re thinking about two bombs or maybe a third, so we’re going to do some checking," he said.

He said anyone who sees anything suspicious should do as the public works employees did - call the police and not try to deal with a device on their own.

He also stressed how serious the charges could be for anyone involved.

"You do have kids who do this as pranks, who think they're going to blow up a mailbox. But those are criminal charges, it's nothing to take lightly."

Update at 1:47 p.m.

Cedar Falls Police Chief Jeff Olson said during a press briefing that the neighborhood where a pipe bomb was located and later detonated will remain cordoned off for a few more hours.

Update at 1:32 p.m.

Authorities used a robot to detonate a pipe bomb moments ago discovered by public works staff working on manhole covers this morning.

The device was moved to a yard on Royal Drive, about a block north of Seerley Boulevard.

Cedar Falls Patch editor Alison Gowans, who is at the scene staged about two blocks away, said the detonation made a small boom and smoke.

- B.A. Morelli

Update at 12:50 p.m.

The bomb squad has set up sandbags on a corner on Royal Drive a block east of Seerley Boulevard, near where a pipe bomb was discovered.

A robot has approached the device. A person in a protective suit previously approached the device.

Dannelle Bromaghih, 37, of Waterloo, was waiting near the cordoned off area near where the pipe bomb was discovered. She said she was waiting for news because he mother lives in the house where the potential bomb is now laying.

She said she was angry about even the possibility of a bomb.

"I'm disgusted if this is what it really is," she said. "After yesterday? All the stuff going down in the world these days, and now it's hitting too close to home. It makes me scared for my kids growing up in this world, with all the pitiful, disgusting people out there."

Update at 11:41 a.m.

A small group of bystanders watched nearby as the bomb squad and other authorities investigated the scene near where a pipe bomb was discovered this morning.

"I could see it laying on the lawn. Just a PVC pipe with duck tape on the end," said Jim Smith, 52, who said he lives at 908 Royal Dr.

He was among the residents who had been evacuated. He said he'd watched a sewer truck outside his house that morning.

"They were all standing around looking at something. I thought they were just taking a break," he said. "But then the police came by and said they think it is a pipe bomb that's been there for several months and to stay away from the windows. Then a while later they came back and said we have to evacuate."

He said he's not worried: "I just want to go home, but they said it could be several hours."

Update at 11:14 a.m.

Parents arrived in droves to pick up their children from the Community United Child Care, which is next to a cordoned off area where officials are investigating a pipe bomb on Tuesday morning.

The center is on voluntary lockdown, but parents were able to get their children if they wished.

"I saw it on the news, and it was just a little too close for comfort," said Kathy Waechter, who was picking up her granddaughter.

The deadly Boston Marathon blast that shook the nation on Monday made the local threat all the more scary.

"After yesterday - one dad who came said, 'I just can't have that feeling," office director Angie Schaefer said.

Police Chief Jeff Olson said public works staff discovered the pipe bomb this morning while working on manhole covers.

The bomb squad has arrived on the scene. The area behind Buffalo Wild Wings is the area that has been cordoned off.

There are a few bystanders who are mostly local residents watching, but the scene is calm.


Police said they discovered a pipe bomb in the area of the 2300 block of Royal Drive Tuesday.

The area has been cordoned off. Police said a day care center is on lock-down and nearby Peet Junior High School is on standby. 

The Waterloo Police Department bomb squad as well as Cedar Falls and University of Northern Iowa police have been dispatched.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Dee Vandeventer April 16, 2013 at 03:25 PM
I'm at LaGuardia airport returning to Cedar Falls. The airport has been evacuated for a suspicious package.
CFBusinessOwner April 16, 2013 at 04:02 PM
Peace and safety be with you Dee and all the folks out there.
Alison Gowans April 16, 2013 at 09:24 PM
Video is up of Police Chief Jeff Olson talking to the press after the controlled detonation.


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