Incident early today remains under investigation
OAK PARK HEIGHTS — Eastbound Minnesota 36 was closed to traffic for several hours and the St. Paul Police Department Bomb Squad called early this morning after an attentive pedestrian walking to work saw and heard suspicious looking devices in an area along 60th Street.
It marked the second time in four days that law enforcement agencies closed a popular retail area to traffic to investigate a suspicious device. Several blocks in downtown Stillwater were closed Saturday after a Michigan man allegedly claiming to have a bomb in a briefcase he was carrying tried to rob the Chestnut Street US Bank office. He was later arrested and taken to the Washington County Jail.
Tuesday’s incident began about 4:45 a.m. when the unidentified pedestrian spotted one of four devices in the area of Kruger Lane and 60th Street, said Oak Park Heights Police Chief Brian DeRosier. He added that some of the devices were hidden under bushes and all were found within 100 feet of each other.
“They were beeping, foil-wrapped, cell phone-like devices with a fuse situation. The bomb squad was called in and one was detonated on scene, where it seemed as though it was some sort of security device,” DeRosier said.
DeRosier said investigators did not know what kind of security devices were found.
“We have to determine the origin of the device, to see if it was part of a theft,” he said. “We’ll also check cameras inside the facilities to see if we can find a suspect.”
During the initial investigation, state Department of Transportation trucks were parked at the entrance to the eastbound MN 36 ramp at Minnesota 5 to keep traffic off the highway. The ramp was re-opened at 7:45 a.m. DeRosier said the shutdown of eastbound MN 36 was due to safety reasons.
“Given what happened on Saturday it could be a possible copycat event and that would be an unfortunate incident if that’s what took place,” he added further.
The incident remains under investigation.