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Police destroy pipe bomb left in park
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Manteca police bomb squad officer Mike Keener sets up a device to detonate what appeared to be a pipe bomb made from a copper cylinder that was left on a picnic table in Yosemite Park. - photo by GLENN KAHL/ The Bulletin
A 5-inch-long pipe bomb located on a Yosemite Park picnic table Monday afternoon by a man and his grandson playing ball was destroyed by Manteca Police bomb squad members at about 6:30 p.m. two hours after it was found.

Manteca police bomb squad officer Mike Keener and an officer from the Stockton Police Department bomb squad set up a static shotgun device that destroyed the bomb-shaped copper cylinder with wires protruding from beneath duct tape. It was capped on both ends.

Officers stood guard on both sides of the park for about an hour until the bomb squad could arrive on the scene making sure no one would enter the danger zone of the Yosemite Park grounds in the 600 block of El Portal.

Officer Stephen Dowswell said the resident who found the device had been playing ball with his grandson when a wild throw went over the fence. When they went to retrieve the ball in the park he found the suspicious looking device sitting upright in the middle of a picnic table and called police.

Dowswell spotted a group of teens – boys and girls – entering the far side of the park apparently about to play baseball at a back stop.  He drove his police car across the turf and asked them to leave for their own safety. Dowswell later said he hated to chase them out of the park because they looked like a good bunch of kids.

Officers also made contact with residents whose homes backed up to the park and asked them to stay in their houses and not to go out in their back yards.