The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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April 20, 2007

Pipe bombs found at New Ulm college

NEW ULM — A veteran of the war in Iraq attending Martin Luther College has been detained in a psychiatric ward in New Ulm after police found two pipe bombs in a campus parking lot Friday morning.

New Ulm Police Chief Erv Weinkauf said one of the pipe bombs was found in a box inside the student’s pickup truck, while another was found in the trunk of a vehicle belonging to his roommate. He said it was the roommate who first alerted authorities about the bomb.

A bomb squad from Bloomington detonated one of the devices and the other one was rendered inactive.

The morning began when the suspect woke his roommate up at about 4 a.m. The roommate brought the suspect to the hospital and returned to campus. He then went to the suspect’s truck, removed what Weinkauf said were four guns and brought them to his own vehicle.

That’s when he found the first pipe bomb, Weinkauf said, at about 8 a.m.

Classes at Martin Luther, a private college with about 700 students, went on Friday, though students were moved across campus, Weinkauf said. Several hundred children were also on campus for a play.

The school’s president, Ted Olsen, didn’t return calls seeking comment. He told the New Ulm Journal that the suspect is in his mid-20s and has been “facing a lot of pain,” according to the paper’s Web site.

An alert on the school’s Web site told students that a “suspicious device” was found in a vehicle, but that there is no immediate danger to the campus.

Weinkauf said the student had been treated at a local hospital for physical and psychological wounds suffered in Iraq.

The suspect hasn’t been arrested or charged with a crime. His dorm room was searched, Weinkauf said, but there were no more explosives found. There were no clues on a possible motive or target, he said.

Weinkauf confirmed there was no reason to believe anyone on the campus was in any danger Friday afternoon.

He said the man may face charges once authorities analyze the evidence further.

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