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‘Move away from it:’ Police provide tips on how to handle suspicious items

Newaygo PD says suspicious item brought to department turned out to be an explosive
Newaygo Police Dept pic.jpg
Posted at 5:32 PM, Jun 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 18:03:15-04

NEWAYGO, Mich. — Monday afternoon between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., Newaygo City Hall and the adjacent police department and library were on lockdown.

“A gentleman came into the City of Newaygo Police Department lobby, spoke with our staff and stated he had an item that he thought might be explosive,” Chief Georgia Andres recalled during an interview with FOX 17 on Tuesday. “So, the officer went outside, observed the item and did see that something was suspicious.”

Chief Andres said the man, who was an older gentleman, found it while cleaning alongside a road in Brooks Township.

He initially took it home and was about to throw it away, she said. However, he drove to the police department instead, so they could examine it.

Police then called in the Newaygo Country Sheriff's Office and the Michigan State Police Bomb Squad for help.

“In those situations, we would not touch it because we are not bomb techs. We look at them as suspicious. We get everyone away to keep them safe. We take all the precautions,” Chief Andres said. “What we do is we secure and pull everybody away from the scene and then we contact the bomb squad. And, that’s what we did yesterday. That’s why the building was locked down. That’s why people were taken away from the area and not allowed entry into the parking lot after a while.”

Police said they discovered that it was a homemade bomb. So, they drove it out to a remote location and detonated it safely.

READ MORE: Homemade bomb found in Newaygo County

Chief Andres added that the man involved had good intentions.

“This was a wonderful citizen. It wasn't a person meant to do any harm. He thought he was doing a good thing,” she said. “He even addressed that maybe he had a made a mistake. So, I would never second guess that citizen because he really wanted to do a good thing.”

Moving forward, she said it’s best for the public to stay away from anything suspicious.

“No. 1, if you run into a suspicious item or package, you should not touch it,” Chief Andres said. “Those types of items can be activated by friction and movement. So, you do not want to touch them. Leave them where they’re at, and call 9-1-1.”

She said friction and movement from people's phones and radios can activate them. It's one of the reason police did not get near it.

Fox 17 reached out to the Sheriff's Office for a comment and are awaiting a response. Chief Andres confirmed that the investigation is in their hands and it is ongoing.

She emphasized one last time not to go near anything suspicious.

“I would move away from it,” Chief Andres said. "The thing we are taught in our training: if you can see the bomb, the bomb can see you.”

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