California Highway Patrol officials said the pipe bomb found along the Capital City Freeway on Monday may have been placed there by the same person who put a pipe bomb on a Highway 50 offramp in Sacramento one month earlier.
The two incidents are being investigated together, CHP Officer Chad Hertzell said Wednesday, as part of a joint effort involving local officials, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“We don’t know if we have a lone wolf; no one has claimed anything,” Hertzell said. “It is concerning. They were definitely intended to hurt people.”
Hertzell said anyone who may have information about the incidents is asked to call the CHP, FBI or ATF.
The discovery of a pipe bomb at the Arden Way offramp from northbound Capital City Freeway resulted in a three-hour closure during the peak of the afternoon commute. The CHP bomb squad responded and rendered the device safe before traffic reopened.
The other pipe bomb was found March 4 on the westbound Highway 50 offramp to Stockton Boulevard. That device was spotted by a Sacramento police officer.
“They are made very similarly,” Hertzell said. “There is a good chance they are connected.”
Graham Barlowe, the ATF resident agent in charge in Sacramento, noted that both were left in similar spots on local freeway offramps, suggesting a potential connection, but he cautioned that the investigation is in its preliminary stages.
“We’re in the business of looking for indicators and trying to connect the dots,” he said. “We have circumstances that are interesting (but) they may turn out not to be connected.”
Officials declined to describe the devices in detail, but said they are both cylindrical and had bomb components. Pipe bombs typically have fuses or require electric ignition, although some are volatile enough that they could be set off by static electricity.
Both devices were disabled without incident. The device found Monday has been taken to an ATF forensics lab in the Bay Areas for analysis.
Call The Bee’s Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059.