Published Tuesday, March 13, 2012

GBI bomb squad detonates two 'suspicious canisters'

By John Winters

The Newnan Times-Herald

A bomb squad safely detonated two small "explosive-type" canisters on Monday that were discovered at a car wash business on Highway 34 East.

Traffic going both directions was stopped briefly around 12:45 p.m. as a team from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation used a water cannon mounted on a robot to destroy the devices.

There were no injuries and the detonation, although loud, did not cause any damage.

Coweta County Sheriff Mike Yeager said authorities were notified about the canisters about 10:40 a.m. Monday and GBI units, including a truck that carries a remote-controlled robot, arrived soon afterward.

"We were erring on the side of caution," the sheriff said.

According to Yeager, sometime around 7 p.m. on Sunday a truck drove up to the Riptide Car Wash, which is located across from The Summit Healthplex. Employees removed items from the bed of the truck, including the two small canisters, before the truck went through the wash.

However, the driver drove off without getting the canisters back. The employees put the devices inside the office, thinking the driver would return, the sheriff said.

Authorities described the canisters as about five inches tall and two inches wide, sealed on one end and taped on the other.

Another employee arrived Monday morning at work, saw the canisters and pulled back the tape on one. He saw some type of fuse, cotton padding and a granular powder, the sheriff said.

"He had the presence of mind to call us," Yeager said, adding the device looked similar to a large M-80 firecracker.

The GBI bomb unit used the robot to remove the devices, which were put on a road and against a curb behind the car wash.

The canisters, which authorities called "explosive-type devices," were then destroyed.

Afterward, investigators were reviewing tapes from video cameras at the car wash to try and identify the truck and driver.

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