TOMS RIVER – Police have secured the area after determining that a suspected pipe bomb was actually fake.
The incident began this morning at 9:15 a.m. when police were called out to the Honda of Toms River dealership at 346 Route 37 East, police said. Fire and first aid units also responded. The surrounding businesses, and homes on Hill Road and Dale Drive, were evacuated.
Employees at the dealership had noticed the device and called it in, police said. It was a metal cylinder, about a foot long and 5 inches wide, wrapped in black tape with wires and electrical connectors sticking out of the ends.
While it appeared to be a pipe bomb, experts were able to learn that it wasn’t one. It was just something made to look like a bomb.
The New Jersey State Police Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit used a video camera on a remote controlled robot to examine it closely. Then, they used a portable x-ray device to determine that it was not what it appeared to be. Specialists wearing protective gear disabled the object and the area was determined to be safe at 11:30 a.m.
Investigators are still trying to learn who put the device there and why. Security video footage is being reviewed and potential witnesses are being interviewed.
In addition to the local police and state bomb unit, the following groups responded to the incident: Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, Toms River Fire Companies No. 1 and 2, and the Toms River EMS.