When police say two pipe bombs discovered in the same vicinity don’t appear to be connected, it’s not exactly what they mean.
Such statements, State Police Capt. Jimmy Glascock said Tuesday, simply mean investigators haven’t yet found hard evidence linking the two devices recently discovered near the Clovis landfill.
Glascock said while it is possible the two bombs could eventually be linked, “At this time there is just not evidence specific enough to tie the two together.”
Glascock did confirm a pipe bomb was also discovered in Roswell on Friday. He said there is no evidence connecting the Roswell bomb to the two in Clovis.
It also turns out the mere discovery of pipe bombs is a relatively new phenomenon in Clovis.
“I would say on average we have no (0) pipe bombs reported to us per year,” Clovis Police spokesman Capt. Patrick Whitney said in an email. “This latest issue is totally out of the ordinary. I went back a few years and could not find a pipe bomb report. I cannot tell you exactly when the last time was we had a confirmed pipe bomb in Clovis.”
Although police can say for sure the first bomb was discovered “in the vicinity” of the landfill, they can’t do the same for the second. Because, Glascock said, the man who showed up at city hall with the second one on Monday gave two different accounts of where he found it.
Both accounts placed the bomb just off Brady Street, Glascock said, but in different areas.
Glascock declined to get into specifics about the man. Glascock said he believes the man was trying to be honest and a search warrant police executed along with other evidence have cleared the man of any criminal involvement with the bomb.
The man told police he found the bomb Sunday and kept it at home overnight. He showed up in municipal court Monday morning and showed it to a clerk. A bailiff at the court instructed the man to place the device outside and city hall was evacuated while a state police bomb squad diffused the device.
The first pipe bomb was discovered March 5 just off Brady near the landfill, according to City Manager Joe Thomas. It was described as made of steel and packed with nails or screws meant to act as shrapnel.
The second pipe bomb was made of what appeared to be PVC plastic, Glascock said, declining to elaborate on the contents because the case remain under investigation.
“I don’t want to put something out to the public ... where the people responsible for making these could change a technique or a habit and possibly hurt the investigation,” Glascock said.
He did say both contained “gun(powder) or some kind of flash powder.”
Whitney said while there have been reports of several fake bombs in past years, the last report of a confirmed pipe bomb he can remember cost its maker his life in December 2001.
“We had a local pawn shop owner named Robert Brooks ... blow himself up (killed) with a homemade improvised bomb of his own making in his workshop at 1620 Edwards in Clovis...” Whitney said in his email.
Whitney said the fatal explosion came just months after a security guard faked a bomb in a bathroom at Clovis Community College — the day after terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
“We had a bank robbery up at Hilltop off of Main Street in 2005,” Whitney said, “in which a set of traffic control fuses and a TV remote wrapped in electric tape (fake bomb) was used to threaten and ... (rob) the bank.
“ Long story short,” Whitney said, “we do not get very many pipe bombs or other explosives issues but every several years.”
Glascock said ATF and the FBI have taken over investigating both bomb finds in Clovis and the one found in Roswell. Calls to both federal agencies weren’t immediately returned.