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Buffalo Police say devices delivered to station were "non-functional," seeking suspect

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Michael Mroziak, WBFO
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A pair of devices found outside a Buffalo Police station early Friday morning were built to look like pipe bombs but later deemed non-functional by the Erie County Bomb Squad, said police officials who are now looking for the individual seen delivering them.

Captain Jeff Rinaldo showed video captured by a street surveillance camera on South Park about 3:30 a.m. Friday. It shows a suspect, believed to be a male, walking up to the South District Station public entrance, placing a pair of devices on the ground just outside the door and then walking away.

 

The custodial staff found the objects more than an hour later and alerted police who, in turn, notified the Erie County Bomb Squad. That agency removed the device and analyzed it, finding it was non-functional and posed no threat.

"The lighting is a little bit difficult but we were able to enhance the video a little bit and it looks as if they were at least wearing some type of camouflage, a heavier coat and possibly a hat on their head," Rinaldo said. "At this point, it's kind of the description. It's difficult to tell if we're looking for a white male or a black male but the person appears to be 5 feet 10 to six feet tall."

Police are not releasing images of the devices to help to protect their investigation. Rinaldo said while perhaps the suspect may have been inspired by the actions of a nationwide distribution of suspicious devices to key political figures, this incident is isolated and the police station received no prior threats.

Although the devices posed no threat, they are working with the FBI to find the suspect.

"Whether it's a functioning bomb or not, even if it's a kid's toy piece of dynamite or something you'd use for a costume, when you do what you see in this video, you're guilty of a D felony," Rinaldo said. "We will treat this as serious as if it was an actual pipe bomb."

The person found to have planted the devices could face a year in prison or, if the suspect has a prior criminal record, could face up to fifteen years, Rinaldo added.

 
 

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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