Employees of a Caldwell car dealership handled the small device Tuesday before deciding it could pose a danger and notifying police.
“My first reaction was that it wasn’t a real device,” said Scott Emry, owner of Hum Motors at 6719 Cleveland Blvd. “I picked it up and looked at it, went through all the (serial) numbers and realized I shouldn’t be handling this.”
Emry then set the item, which carried the word “explosive,” on the ground. He evacuated the shop and called police, asking them to evaluate the device. Emry said it had an aluminum housing that was slightly bigger than a soda pop can, and weighed about as much as one.
Caldwell police had a bomb squad from the Nampa Police Department remove the device. Authorities have not said whether it was an actual explosive device, but Emery said he believes it was.
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“It was some kind of military device,” he said. “It had patent numbers on it and all kinds of manufacturer’s numbers, plus wires protruding from it. After looking at it, we realized it must have been a real one.”
Caldwell Lt. Dave Wright said the cylinder is being viewed as a “suspicious device” and is being evaluated by the Nampa bomb squad.
The family-owned dealership took possession of the 1995 Nissan extended cab pickup after its owner was arrested by police, Emry said.
He said he was thankful no one was injured.
“Without thinking about it, my son handled it, my other son came and looked at it and we were all standing around talking about it. I handled it,” Emry said. “My two oldest boys and myself could have been gone if it had gone off.”
Police have said very little about the case, and would not confirm Thursday whether the pickup’s owner was arrested and if so, why.
The man, whom Wright declined to identify at this stage of the investigation, had been behind in his truck payments, Emry said. Hum Motors had been looking for the man to repossess the vehicle, Emry said.
After the man’s arrest, a tow company impounded the vehicle and later notified Hum Motors, which was listed as a lien holder on the vehicle’s records.
One of Emry’s sons paid the impound fee and took possession of the pickup, driving it back to the company’s detailing shop. The owner’s possessions were to be removed and the pickup cleaned so it could be resold.