Suspicious devices found at two locations near downtown Wednesday morning — the Manteca Transit station and at Southside Park — were detonated by bomb squad personnel.
Manteca Police called out the bomb squad officers to two separate locations where they could be heard detonating suspected pipe bombs – one at 6:30 a.m. and the other shortly before noon.
The first was spotted by a bus driver pulling into the Transit Center on Moffat Boulevard at South Main Street at 6:30 a.m. The driver notified police that he had spotted a piece of pipe taped to a pole near where he parked his bus to load passengers. The bomb squad was called and the device detonated. It was determined to have been harmless.
Then at about 9 a.m. the owner of a rental property in the 200 block of South Jessie Avenue came across a four-inch piece of PVC pipe that had a trailing electrical wire and both ends of the pipe taped off. He too called police concerned he had also found a live pipe bomb.
Both the San Joaquin County Bomb Squad and Manteca’s Bomb Squad responded and parked their trucks on the south end of Jessie against the park where they could see the area of the suspicious device that had been found in the grass. Officers in patrol cars blocked the area streets to prevent vehicles from entering the area. An officer donned his flack jacket and helmet and used a robot to reach the suspected bomb. The officer then approached with a retrieving pole and placed it in a safe container and carried it to a location in the grass.
People in the park and motorists on the nearby cross street were told to evacuate the area as the officers appeared to be seriously concerned that the bomb was active. After it was detonated with an explosive charge the officers scoured the grass for some 75 feet looking for telltale fragments that would lend to their investigation as it was deemed to have been an active device at that time.
Later in the evening a press release came from the two bomb squads saying both suspicious devices had been determined not to have been explosive devices after all.