More details about the suspicious device that led to the evacuation of two of Pulaski County’s government buildings Friday were shared during Monday’s county council meeting. Sheriff Jeff Richwine said the object was found by maintenance staff as they were emptying the trash bin in the southeast restroom in the courthouse basement.
“It looked like, maybe, the size of a roll of quarters,”Richwine explained. “It was made out of duct tape and plastic. We’re not sure what was inside of it. It had aluminum foil on the ends. It was definitely something made. It wasn’t just some accidental thing that nobody knew what it was, that showed up in the trash.”
He said the maintenance workers actually picked up the device, put it in a plastic bag, and took it to the maintenance office in the Annex Building, which is when police were called.”For safety reasons, because it appeared that the thing might be reacting in the bag, it was taken out of the Annex Building and put out on the ground between the cabin and what used to be the museum behind the library and the Annex Building,” Richwine said.
The Indiana State Police Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives were called in to assist. Richwine explained that their first step was to x-ray the device, and no triggers or electronics were found. “So the next thing they do is they sandbag it, and then they actually shoot it with a water cannon. If it’s explosive or something like that, it’ll actually go off. So they did that. It blowed the thing to pieces. I mean, you could make out that there was that green plastic that we could see the black electric tape. No kind of powder.”
Richwine said ATF officials declined to do further testing on the device, but those on the scene were confident that it wasn’t incendiary or explosive. “I wish they would have tested it, so then we could’ve said for sure, but that’s their call and they do what they think is best,” Richwine added. “The other angle on this thing was the possibility of whether this wasn’t some drugs that were to tried to be smuggled back into the jail.” But Richwine said he now thinks that theory is unlikely.
He added that State Police dogs went through the courthouse. Maintenance staff looked through the trash in various county buildings, while jail personnel went through the Justice Center’s trash. Richwine commented that all county employees were very cooperative.