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Pipe bomb materials found near Smithsburg

July 18, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

SMITHSBURG -- Howard County police officers serving a search warrant Wednesday near Smithsburg found what appeared to be material used for making explosives, and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were called to investigate, Sherry Llewellyn, spokeswoman for the Howard County Police Department, said Thursday.

Police found the materials after serving the warrant at 22218 Troy Lane near Smithsburg, where they had gone as part of an ongoing investigation into stolen laptop computers, Llewellyn said.

ATF agents found one pipe bomb and parts of two other pipe bombs, ATF spokeswoman Clare Weber said.

"ATF considers the manufacture and possession of pipe bombs a very serious crime," Weber said.

The pipe bomb and materials now are the subject of an ongoing investigation, she said.

"This is a serious crime," she said.

No charges had been filed as of Thursday evening.

Weber was not sure when ATF agents became involved in the investigation, but said it was late Wednesday morning or early Wednesday afternoon.

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ATF-certified explosives specialists were at the scene, she said.

The state Fire Marshal's Office's bomb squad also responded, Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Jason Mowbray said.

All of the evidence that agents gathered was sent to the ATF lab in Beltsville, Md., for analysis, Weber said.

Maryland State Police also were at the scene Wednesday, but referred all questions to ATF.

ATF on Thursday was working in cooperation with the other agencies, Weber said.

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