In New Jersey, Bomb Disposal Robot Worked As Designed

Watch a suspicious device blow up

On Saturday morning, a pipe bomb exploded in a trash can in Seaside Park, New Jersey, near the planned course for a Marine Corps charity run. On Saturday night, in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood (or near it, depending on who you ask), an explosive went off, injuring 29 (so far, none fatally), and police found more suspect devices. These include an unexploded pressure cooker bomb with a cellphone attached, much like the kind used in 2013’s Boston Marathon bombing. Arrests have already been made, and police are searching for a specific suspect in connection with both attacks.

It’s likely there were more bombs planted by this individual. Including one on the train tracks near Elizabeth, New Jersey last night. When an explosive ordnance robot attempted to inspect the package, the package blew up:

As the FBI dryly put it “In the course of rendering one of the devices safe, it detonated.”

Bomb squad robots have made news recently for unconventional uses. This summer, one wielded an explosive to kill a suspect in a firefight in Dallas. Earlier this month, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s used a bomb squad robot to pick up a gun from a suspect’s feet while he was looking elsewhere, disarming him.

Despite the novel uses, it’s getting up close to a bomb that makes a bomb squad robot useful. There is more investigative work to be done, and the devices rendered inert are already on their way to an FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia. The composition of the bombs could yield clues about who, if anyone, worked with the bombmakers.

[Gizmodo]

Kelsey D. Atherton
Kelsey D. Atherton

is a defense technology journalist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work on drones, lethal AI, and nuclear weapons has appeared in Slate, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and elsewhere.