'Ticking Potato Gun' was Cause of Bomb Scare
SAN ANGELO, TX — The suspicious, long, cylindrical object found near a dumpster behind the Stripes Convenience Store at N. Howard and Junius Streets turned out to be nothing dangerous.
The suspicious object resembled a large pipe bomb was later revealed to be a potato gun. Inside, a battery-powered butane grill lighter that was empty was “clicking” as the electric igniter fired continuously.
Adobe Dave’s T-Shirts, located behind the Stripes, and the area around it was evacuated while the San Angelo Fire Department personnel investigated.
Whenever a bomb threat occurs where there is a visible object, our first responders must rely on the Abilene Police Department’s bomb squad, because Abilene has a robot capable of fetching or remotely detonating the object.
After about a two-hour wait for the Abilene PD to arrive, the APD bomb robot was dispatched to the object where the robot seemingly checked the object for a blast charge by firing something into it. You could hear a muffled pop.
Once the object was determined not to be a threat, the Abilene Bomb Squad retrieved the object as part of the investigation. It was then that firefighters discovered it was a potato gun with an empty battery-powered grill lighter inside.
The area was cleared and people went back to their normal lives at around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.
Fire Marshal Ross Coleman said public safety is always paramount. Whenever a suspicious object is reported or seen, there are set procedures our fire and police departments must follow to protect citizens.
The Fire Marshal’s office has since assumed the lead role in the investigation.