Police: Object resembling pipe bomb was intentionally placed on trail, but not to explode

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE— Police responded to what looked like a pipe bomb on a trail near Smithsonian Butte on Saturday evening. However, the item in question turned out to be a geocache, a container intentionally placed in a location as part of a GPS outdoor recreational activity.

Stock image of a pipe bomb for illustrative purposes | Photo courtesy of cmannphoto via iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

Washington County Emergency Services Director Jason Whipple told St. George News that hikers came across the PVC pipe, which had caps on the ends resembling a pipe bomb, while hiking on a trail near Smithsonian Butte outside of Springdale.

“They had found a suspicious item, a pipe that looked like it could be of explosive nature, so they called law enforcement,” Whipple said.

The Washington County Bomb Squad, Springdale Police Department and a Bureau of Land Management ranger responded and assessed the pipe.

The bomb squad was quickly able to determine that the pipe was not an explosive device but a geocache.

“It wasn’t a device, but it had all the looks of one,” Whipple said.

Geocaching is a worldwide activity where containers with various items in them are hidden in different locations that are specified by their global positioning coordinates. Seekers try to find the container using GPS receivers or mobile devices and clues given by the person who hid each one.

One clue typically given is a description of the container itself, which is often cylindrical in nature and designed to be weather resistant. As such, they may resemble a homemade pipe bomb. However, in this case, Whipple said the pipe they found did not resemble the description of the geocache that is located in the area.

Email: mshoup@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @MikaylaShoup

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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