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Explosive device found in car parked in Mayo Clinic ramp

Explosive device found in car parked in Mayo Clinic ramp
The Bloomington bomb squad arrives with a robot and a blue bomb container on wheels to contain an explosive device found on the Saint Marys Hospital campus Thursday.

No one was hurt, but thousands were inconvenienced on Thursday when a woman from Winona with a 50- to 60-pound explosive device in the trunk of her car parked in a ramp at Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester.

The 46-year-old woman, who was visiting her son, a Mayo patient, alerted Mayo Clinic security about the device around 11 a.m. after parking on the second floor of the Generose Building patient/visitor ramp, according to police.

"She decided that it was time to tell someone that she had this with her," Capt. Brian Winters said.

The woman said her 17-year-old son was interested in explosives and that he's apparently made a number of devices, including the bomb brought to Saint Marys, at home, Winters said. They live in rural Winona County. The woman placed the device in her car for "safe keeping," Winters said.

The woman made no threat with the bomb and even offered to drive it off of Mayo property, which authorities told her not to do, Sgt. Steve Thompson said. Mayo Clinic spokesman Bryan Anderson added that no patients or staff were at risk.


The Generose parking ramp was evacuated, a police car blocked the entrance, and Mayo staff members directed traffic away from the area, Thompson said. Neighboring buildings were not evacuated, but patients, employees and visitors were not allowed in the ramp.

The bomb squad from Bloomington arrived at 2:20 p.m. and used a jaws of life apparatus to open the car trunk. The device was about 3 feet long, made of heavy gauge metal and had a foot-long wick on one end, Thompson said. The device was filled with black powder or other explosive material and "was made by a juvenile for dangerous recreation," Winters said.

The device was loaded into a barrel-shaped container and wheeled out of the parking ramp around 5 p.m., and Mayo officials gave the all-clear.

The bomb was detonated at a quarry, according to police, and residents in southeast Rochester reported hearing and feeling an explosion about 6:20 p.m.

Winona County authorities have been notified, and "if they have a better criminal case in Winona County, we may just refer our reports to them," Winters said. Rochester police could send incident reports to the Olmsted County Attorney's Office for possible charges, he said.

Winona County Sheriff David Brand could not be reached for comment Friday morning.

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