Beach Evacuated After Pipe Bomb Found By Citizen

OCEAN CITY – The beach at 40th Street was evacuated for about an hour on Tuesday afternoon when a pipe bomb was discovered in the area.

Around 1:50 p.m. on Tuesday, Ocean City police and the resort’s Fire and Bomb Squad responded to the beach at 40th Street in reference to a report of a pipe bomb. The suspicious device was discovered by a private citizen and was reported to the Ocean City Beach Patrol, which immediately notified police. The area was evacuated for about an hour as Ocean City Bomb Squad technicians, using robotic equipment, removed the suspicious item from the beach.

The Bomb Squad transported the suspicious device to an area outside Ocean City. Typically, potentially explosive devices found in the resort are taken to a safe, rocky area near the airport in West Ocean City for examination and detonation if necessary. Bomb Squad technicians examined the suspicious item and determined it to be an improvised explosive device (IED). The IED was rendered safe and the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the incident.

Ocean City police acknowledged the actions of the observant citizen who discovered and reported the improvised bomb. OCPD officials also took the opportunity to remind citizens to notify police whenever they discover any suspicious device or object. Under no circumstances should suspicious devices be handled or manipulated. The objects are unpredictable. Homemade or military-type devices are extremely unstable when exposed to sand and salt water and may explode without warning.

Tuesday’s incident involving an improvised explosive device on the beach was just the latest in a fairly recent string of similar events in the resort area over the last year or so. For example, last September a private citizen using a metal detector on the beach uncovered a homemade hand grenade of sorts buried in the sand at 103rd Street. During that same month, police served a warrant on a local resident at his home and discovered the makings of IEDs including plastic PVC pipes with fixed caps on the end including fuses, a gallon container of gunpowder and a spool of hobby fuses. The suspect had earlier threatened to blow up a vehicle.

Last July, resort police found an IED in the form of a homemade hand grenade wrapped in black electrical tape in the center console of a vehicle they had pulled over for a routine traffic stop. In December 2007, nearly 300 commercial grade fireworks were found on the beach just north of the Maryland line, the largest of which was over eight pounds.