Pipe bomb on race route rattles Jersey shore town

Casey Mills
September 23, 2016

Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-Toms River, described the Seaside Park community as military centered, with lots of veterans and active duty military personnel.

On Monday, the blast site on Ocean Avenue, an area of two-story homes and sandy beaches, was free of police tape and flashing lights as heavy rain fell. Law enforcement officials said his fingerprints and DNA were found at the scene of the bombing in Chelsea and his face was visible on surveillance cameras near the spot of the blast. MacArthur said that person needs to be "tracked down and brought to justice".

The third annual Semper Five run, named for the US Marines motto "semper fidelis", "always loyal", was canceled and the immediate area was put on lockdown. Authorities have said that as of now, there is no connection between the two incidents.

Officials said an attack at a Minnesota mall in which a man stabbed nine people was being investigated as a possible act of terrorism; an Islamic State-run news agency called the attacker a "soldier of the Islamic State".

The FBI did not field questions from the media due to the ongoing investigation. The public was being urged to avoid the area. Access to the beachfront at C, D, and E Streets would remain restricted until further notice, he said.

Authorities say there was no structural damage from the blast.

The official says investigators looked into it and don't consider it relevant to the case.

Investigators said they found similarities between this device and the bomb that exploded in New York's Chelsea neighborhood Saturday evening.

However, State Police bomb technicians have rendered safe items located in the same trash can in which the explosion occurred.

Al Della Fave, a spokesman for the Ocean County prosecutor's office, said he believes the blast was meant to affect the Seaside Semper Five race.

A statement issued by Ocean County Police, Fire and EMS said: "An explosive device discharged within a garbage pail at approximately 9:35 am". It was located in a garbage can, and no one was injured.

The discovery of an unattended backpack just before the race began caused a delay in the competition that may have saved many runners from harm.

"It was a blessing in disguise, because the pipe bomb would have gone off when the 5K was going, " Howath said. Authorities immediately evacuated the boardwalk and beach area and it's not clear when it will reopen. So race director Frank Costello pushed the 9:30 a.m. start time back a half-hour - a decision which, he says, prevented a "disaster".

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