BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – It looked all too real–two pieces of pipe, capped at both ends, with wires attached–that could have been a pair of pipe bombs. They seemed so menacing, law officers from the city, county, and federal agencies converged on the scene, and cordoned off both ends of Miami Street.
The drama unfolded at an impound lot for a vehicle repossession firm called Nu-Era Services, at 95 Miami Street. A Nu-Era worker was taking inventory of a Jeep that had been seized on the West Side over the weekend, and discovered what looked to be two pipe bombs.
Sensing a possible act of terrorism, Buffalo police closed off Miami Street at Louisiana Ave. to the east, and Chicago St. to the west, then contacted city fire marshals who called in the Erie County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad, and agents from the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
Jeremy Branch, a recovery agent for Nu-Era Services, said their jobs are dangerous enough without a new worry of possible pipe bombs, “We got a tough job here, you know, and I am just glad my coworkers, they are okay, and everybody is safe at this time.”
Bomb Squad officers even used a robot to explode the devices but fortunately, no explosives were found. Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield said what looked like pipe bombs turned out to be two enclosed pipes, one plastic pipe, the other made of copper.
“There was one PVC, capped on both ends and a piece of copper pipe, also capped on both ends, and it looked like they had wires emanating from one of the ends of the pipe.”
Whitfield added, after checking with the Jeep’s owner, investigators found out what the two pipes were really being used for, “As it turned out they are the tools of a handyman who uses those as containers for his drill bits.”
Commissioner Whitfield credited the workers at Nu-Era Services for “seeing something and saying something”, which helps law enforcement root out potential acts of terrorism, and when it was all over, this turned out to be a real life, real time training exercise where no one got hurt.