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Railroad crew finds small bomb under tracks

(The Evansville Courier & Press posted the folowing article on its website on April 9.)

FAIRFIELD, Ill. -- A Norfolk Southern Railroad maintenance crew discovered a bomb planted beneath the tracks east of Fairfield, Ill., Friday afternoon.

"The device was about 8 inches long and was made out of 3/4-inch plastic pipe sealed on both ends," said Wayne County Sheriff Sonny McCulley.

"The fuse had been lit, but apparently burned out with about six inches left." The device was found on the northeast side of the rail crossing, buried under one of the rails.

The scene was at a rural crossing less than a mile east of Fairfield, just southeast of the Assembly of God Church off Illinois 15.

McCulley notified the FBI's Domestic Terrorism Unit along with the Illinois Secretary of State Bomb Squad who examined the device before detonating it about 7 p.m. Friday.

McCulley said the device was apparently filled with black powder and had been armed with bolts and nails.

"It was clearly intended to be an anti-personnel device, but was powerful enough that it would have likely damaged the rails had it exploded," McCulley said.

McCulley moved the device from beneath the rail and placed it in a nearby farm field so a backlog of freight trains could continue along the east-west route.

The Secretary of State Bomb Squad detonated the device after clearing a 400-foot radius around the bomb. Officials then collected debris from the bomb, which included shrapnel made up of nails and bolts for further analysis.

Anyone with information about who may have been involved in the planting of the bomb is asked to contact either the Wayne County Sheriff's Department or the Wayne County Crimestoppers Hotline at (618) 842-9777.

Monday, April 11, 2005

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