Domestic Crazies — Pipe Bomb Epidemic?

While much of the media has been focused on some folks reselling cell phones, there have been a few instances of pipe bombs in the Pacific Northwest. I am loathe to paint these situations with the broad-brush of “terrorism.”

First, out of Oregon’s capital, numerous pipe bombs found under vehicles

Police evacuated the Tyco circuit board plant in Dallas after a pipe bomb was found in the parking lot, the fourth such device discovered in the Willamette Valley on Thursday.
A Tyco employee noticed the bomb mixed in with cars in the lot adjacent to the plant Thursday night, Dallas Police Chief Jim Harper said. Harper said 60 to 70 employees were evacuated and the Oregon State Police bomb squad detonated the bomb. There were no injuries.

Earlier Thursday, police destroyed three pipe bombs in Salem, including one that was stuck under a woman’s car. The woman found the bomb when she returned to the parking garage at Salem Hospital. The bomb rolled out from underneath the car when she pulled at a wire on the side mirror, said Lt. William Kohlmeyer of the Salem Police Department…
“Whether these two devices are related, we’re not speculating right now,” Kohlmeyer said.

Right, pipe bombs are an everyday occurrence. The police recommendation,

Police asked all residents of the Salem area to check the undersides of their cars for signs of pipe bombs like the four discovered in and around Salem and Dallas on Thursday.
Investigators believe the same person constructed all four bombs and the devices could have been deadly if they had detonated.

Next, Puyallup, WA (25 miles south of Seattle, near Tacoma)

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, the Pierce County Bomb Squad and Puyallup Police are investigating two pipe bombs found at the Puyallup Municipal Court.
This was the second time in a week that bombs had been left at the courthouse.
The fire department found smoke coming from the devices in an office next to the main courtroom. They had been thrown through a window….

One or more pipe bombs were also left at the courthouse last Friday, police said.

These WA and OR events made we wonder about other parts of the country, and via Google News search I find that it isn’t just the PNW this past week:

Bethel Island pipe bomb defused (San Jose, CA)

Arrest Made In Sarpy County Pipe Bomb Case (Bellevue, Nebraska)

Boy brings pipe bomb home from school (Dallas, TX)

5 Charged In Pipe Bomb Incident (Houston, TX)

Pipe bomb discovered in Everett parking garage (Everett, WA)

Pipe bomb safely detonated (Victorville, CA)

Man Finds Pipe Bomb, Takes It To Police (Midvale, UT)

Possible pipe bomb closes I-70 truck stop for hours (Spiceland, IN)

I think the issue now is that events like this are easily found — they always happened but today we can do an internet search and scare ourselves. Stuff like this has always happened, but today we are more afraid. Or won’t admit it is sometimes fun to blow things up (not condoning putting folks in danger such as the pipe bombs under a car).

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Richard Gardner
About Richard Gardner
Richard Gardner is a “retired” Navy Submarine Officer with military policy, arms control, and budgeting experience. He contributed over 100 pieces to OTB between January 2004 and August 2008, covering special events. He has a BS in Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.


  1. Alan Kellogg says:

    Addressing the ‘epidemic’ of bored adolescent boys may go far in addressing the ‘epidemic’ of pipe bombs.

  2. McGehee says:

    Addressing the ‘epidemic’ of bored adolescent boys may go far in addressing the ‘epidemic’ of pipe bombs.

    “Bored? Get a job!”

  3. madmatt says:

    Blowing things up can be entertaining, but the July4 usually holds me for awhile. And how many bad pipe bomb builders can there be, its not exactly rocket science…don’t any of these blow up or do we just not get those stories?