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Mechanics in Germany find fake explosive in US soldier’s car

The garage of Schneider's Auto Service, where mechanics found a fake explosive device inside a vehicle they were working on, believed to be used by the vehicle's former owner, to train to find explosive devices for the U.S. Army, in Weiden, Germany, Monday, July 9, 2018.

MARTIN EGNASH/STARS AND STRIPES

By MARCUS KLOECKNER AND MARTIN EGNASH | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 9, 2018

A fake bomb found in a vehicle owned by a U.S. soldier shut down the area surrounding an auto garage for six hours, about 15 miles from the Army’s Grafenwoehr Training Area.

The previous owner of the vehicle was another U.S. soldier who worked in a unit trained to find explosives in cars, police in Weiden said Monday.

The small, rectangular device was found under the armrest of the 1989 Jeep Cherokee while the mechanics were changing the airbag on Friday, mechanics at the garage said.

The mechanics thought the device was a bomb because it looked like C4 explosive from movies, said one of the garage employees, who asked to remain anonymous.

“I’ve never seen anything like that before in real life,” the mechanic said. “We were very worried at first.”

German authorities shut down a 90-to-110-yard radius around the garage from around 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., said Thomas Fritsch, a Weiden police detective.

Specialists from the Bavarian state police who were called to the scene determined that the device was not real.

German authorities, after consulting with Army military police, said they believe the previous owner forgot to take the fake device out of the car.

Fritsch said such an incident could lead to criminal charges but that authorities had no plan to investigate further due to lack of intent to harm.

Army officials were not immediately available for comment Monday.

kloeckner.marcus@stripes.com

egnash.martin@stripes.com
 

Schneider's Auto Service, where mechanics found a fake explosive device inside a vehicle they were working on, believed to be used by the vehicle's former owner, to train to find explosive devices for the U.S. Army, in Weiden, Germany, Monday, July 9, 2018.
MARTIN EGNASH/STARS AND STRIPES

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