Possible pipe bomb removed from Rural King parking lot in Niles

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT A member of the Berrien County Bomb squad is in the process of placing a suspected pipe bomb into a special bomb container Friday morning in the parking lot of Rural King in Niles Township.

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT
A member of the Berrien County Bomb squad is in the process of placing a suspected pipe bomb into a special bomb container Friday morning in the parking lot of Rural King in Niles Township.

A possible pipe bomb in the parking lot of Rural King in Niles Township caused the Berrien County Bomb Squad to be called out Friday morning.

Lt. Trent Babcock, of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, said a black PVC pipe capped at both ends was found on a Wright Tree Service trailer parked on the south side of the parking lot.

Wright Tree Service employees who were about to hook up the trailer discovered the possible pipe bomb Friday morning and called police at approximately 7:55 a.m.

The pipe was located on the trailer in front of a machine used to spray vegetation.

Babcock said the Berrien County Bomb Squad, which was already doing a training exercise elsewhere in the county, was dispatched to Rural King to remove the pipe. They arrived shortly before 9 a.m. and placed the pipe in a special bomb container without incident.

Sheriff Paul Bailey said the pipe would be tested at a safe location to determine if it is a bomb.

Patrons at Rural King during the time of the incident were required to stay in the store and away from the parking lot while the bomb squad defused the situation.

There are no suspects at this time.

Babcock said Wright Tree Service, of Iowa, has been using the Rural King parking lot to park its equipment while doing work in the area the past several months.

It is currently not known when the pipe was placed on the trailer, since the trailer had been sitting in the parking lot for an unknown period of time, likely several days.

Babcock said the sheriff’s department is in the process of investigating the incident, including seeing if information could be gathered from any exterior cameras near the scene.

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