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Apparent pipe bomb found at recycling facility

Employee found, reported suspicious device at West Beaver Street plant

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A suspicious device reported to police at a paper recycling facility on West Beaver Street appeared to be a pipe bomb, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

The bomb squad was called just before 9 a.m. to the WestRock recycling facility at 1580 W. Beaver St., which is west of Myrtle Avenue North in the Mixon Town area of Jacksonville.

The building was evacuated until the scene was cleared about 11 a.m.

"We don't have any information as to how or when the device actually got onto the facility," JSO Lt. Ashish Sircar said. 

He said the device, mixed in with recycling materials at the center of the business, was found by an employee, and that it appeared to be a pipe bomb.

Sircar said items coming into the facility arrive from all over the city from different sources.

"At this point we've taken all the steps to make sure the surrounding neighborhood is as safe as possible," Sircar said.

Police said they are checking to see if there is any surveillance video in the area that could help them find out how the pipe bomb got inside the facility.

Acorn Street south of Beaver Street was closed while crews worked to make the device safe.

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith described the dangerous, deliberate process bomb squad technicians go through when they have such a device. He said the first priority is to clear the area; then, if they can take the bomb apart, they can hopefully garner some clues as to who made it.

“They may be able to tell where certain parts of the bomb may have been purchased,” Smith said. “That way they can check, if it's unique to a certain store, they can check the records and see which people have purchased certain products.”

Smith said sometimes people leave more clues on the devices, especially if it was in some other packaging.

“(Investigators) may have some bombs that were dismantled in the past that may be similar to this construction that could help them out in the investigation also,” Smith said.

A spokesperson for WestRock declined comment Tuesday on how the package was discovered, the response from employees, and how much the interruption impacted business.