Backpack bomb found in Manitowoc County ditch

Contents found inside a backpack found in a Manitowoc County ditch, January 9, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Mantiowoc County Sheriff's Office)

TOWN OF GIBSON (WLUK) -- Manitowoc County deputies are looking for who put a bomb in a backpack found in a ditch along a state highway.

Investigators say similar devices have caused plenty of damage in online videos they have watched. However, they say this bomb did not detonate and the bomb squad determined it to be safe.

The backpack was found in a ditch off State Highway 147, east of I-43, Wednesday afternoon in the Town of Gibson.

Lt. Dave Remiker, of the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department, says he knew it wasn't drug making paraphernalia inside the backpack, like the man who found it originally reported, because he saw a fuse protruding from it.

“He saw the backpack, literally put it in his vehicle, drove home, and called us a little while after,” said Remiker.

Deputies determined the large bottle, wrapped in thick plastic and tape, with a strong chemical smell, was an explosive. The fuse appeared to have been lit, but never burned to the end.

“Fortunately, it wasn't successful,” said Remiker. “The contents didn't contain any shrapnel or any objects that would have caused any damage.The igniting of the substance or the chemicals would have potentially been an explosion. How big? It's unknown.”

Remiker says all indications are the backpack was thrown from a moving vehicle. That's because it looks like it rolled in the snow.

“Not sure if it was a random throw into the ditch or it was intended to strike a vehicle, so we're not 100 percent sure what the intended target was,” said Remiker.

Regardless, the concern for investigators is the time put into making the device. Remiker says it could have been done with help from online videos.

“You just enter some of the keywords related to this or these items and it doesn't take much to see related videos of some pretty big explosions,” said Remiker.

Investigators say they're now seeing if they can pull any fingerprints or DNA off the backpack and its contents.

If anyone has information regarding this incident, call the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office, Lieutenant Dave Remiker at (920) 683-4214. You can also remain anonymous by calling Manitowoc County Crime Stoppers at (920) 683-4466, and possibly eligible for a cash reward.

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