- Associated Press - Thursday, July 21, 2016

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) - Police closed a downtown Corvallis street after the discovery of a potentially hazardous device on a safe that’s believed to date back to the 1930s.

Contractors remodeling a jewelry store that closed several years ago found chemical vials attached to the safe. Fire officials said it appeared to be a commercial anti-theft attachment designed to explode, most likely with tear gas, should a thief try to open it.

Authorities evacuated nearby residents and businesses Wednesday afternoon as an Oregon State Police bomb squad removed the device, which was later incinerated at an undisclosed location away from downtown.

No attempt was made to remove the chemicals.

“We’ll never know what actually was in there. It’s safe, but it’s kind of unsatisfying, isn’t it?” Andy Louden, the fire department battalion chief, told The Gazette-Times (https://is.gd/phzYbr).

Coleman Jewelers, a landmark Corvallis business, closed in December 2012. Members of the Coleman family told authorities they were unaware the safe was inside the building and didn’t know the origins of the anti-theft device.

Louden, a firefighter for nearly 40 years, said he had never heard of such a device before researching it Wednesday.

“Apparently it was a common practice in the 1930s to add all forms of security to a safe and a lot of times they used chemicals. It’s really quite interesting,” Louden said. “And because they apparently get unstable as it gets older, I would assume most people removed them at some point. But this thing was still there.”

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Information from: Gazette-Times, https://www.gtconnect.com


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