- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 18, 2015

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Columbia police are trying to determine who left an explosive device in a vacant parking lot that led to the evacuation of guests from a nearby motel.

Kris Martin, a 33-year-old construction worker, said he found the device Monday evening near the Red Roof Inn and took it inside the motel to report it, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1Mw61x0 ). Guests were evacuated from the 108-room motel for about three hours while a robot removed the device and a bomb squad disposed of it, said Columbia police spokeswoman Latisha Stroer.

There were no injuries or arrests.

Martin, of Brazil, Indiana, said he was walking to a convenience store when he noticed the device. It was about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide and had metal caps and a fuse.

“I couldn’t put it back down” and leave it for someone else to find, he said, so he took it into the motel’s office.

“I said, ‘I found this. You need to turn this in,’” Martin said.

An employee set off the fire alarm to evacuate the motel’s southern building, and a second building was evacuated when emergency responders arrived, Stroer said.

Stroer said the explosive was “readily capable of doing damage.”

After the device was disposed of, police searched the motel and guests returned to their rooms.

Investigators had no new information Tuesday about how the device ended up in the parking lot or who might have left it, Stroer said. A woman who answered the phone at the motel Tuesday said no one was available to comment.

___

Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, https://www.columbiatribune.com


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