Pipe bomb seized at Mayo Clinic - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Pipe bomb seized at Mayo Clinic

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- A pipe bomb found in the trunk of a parked car on the second level of a parking ramp near St. Marys Hospital forced law enforcement to evacuate the area Thursday.

Just after 5 p.m. Thursday, a bomb squad from Bloomington successfully removed it from the woman's car.  The entire process took 6 hours before bystanders were given the "all-clear."

At 11 a.m. Rochester police arrived at the Generose Parking Ramp at St. Marys Hospital on a report of a pipe bomb inside of a vehicle.

"We had offers from the person that brought it here. 'I'll just drive it away.' We said no, 'we're not going to do that," said Rochester Police Sgt. Steve Thompson.

With the Bloomington Bomb Squad on scene, the Generose Parking Ramp was evacuated and shut down while police diverted traffic and bystanders looked on.

Police say the woman from Winona County who owns the car, told them she found the device on her property.  She placed the device in her trunk, and drove her Dodge mid-size car to Rochester to visit a patient at St. Marys Hospital.  That's when she told a security officer about the device.

"She put it in her car and was looking for assistance in destroying it," said Thompson.

On Friday, Rochester Police Capt. Brian Winters said the 46-year-old woman had indicated that she had gone to St. Marys to visit her 17-year-old son, and had mentioned that he had an "interest in explosives."  She also said he had "made them before."

Capt. Winters said police shared what they knew with authorities in Winona County.  Sheriff's Chief Deputy Ron Ganrude tells KTTC the woman lived on a farm south of Utica until the end of June, and then moved into St. Charles, where she lives now.

"Sheriff Dave Brand and I went out to the farm to look around on Thursday afternoon, and we talked to the farmer who lives there, but we didn't find anything suspicious," said Ganrude.

When Mayo Clinic Security relayed information to Rochester police on Thursday, that set in motion a six-hour series of events.  Just before 5 p.m. the bomb squad cut into the trunk with the Jaws of Life but ran into an issue with their remote robot.

"It couldn't lift it (pipe bomb) up so they had to set it on the ground. The guy suited up and put it in himself," said Thompson.

Sgt. Thompson says the pipe bomb was larger than anticipated.  "It's about a three foot device. Heavy-gauge metal. It must've weighed 50-60 lbs. Had a wick coming out of one end."

The response team removed the pipe bomb and placed it into a secure container.  One woman was allowed to go inside the ramp before anyone else... police did not explain to us why.

From there, "the Bloomington Bomb squad is going to take it out to a quarry somewhere. And with the assistance of the fire department they'll detonate it somewhere," said Thompson.

It ended a six-hour scare and igniting an ongoing investigation. 

Friday, Rochester Police Captain Brian Winters explained how the woman obtained the device.

Winters says, "She had indicated that she had placed the device in her vehicle some time ago for safe keeping and that her son has an interest in dabbling with making different devices."

Winona County Chief Deputy Ron Ganrude tells us that Thursday afternoon he and Sheriff Dave Brand went to the farm where she had been living, south of Utica, and looked around. They didn't find anything suspicious.

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