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EXPLOSIVE: Case remains under investigation

August 1, 2012

Columbia City Police Captain Tony Hively carries evidence and one of two BB guns away from the scene at Ace Hardware Tuesday afternoon. — Post and Mail photo / Nicole Ott

COLUMBIA CITY — A methamphetamine tip turned into a bomb investigation Tuesday afternoon at Ace Hardware.

The Whitley County Drug Task Force was tipped off that Lori Sample, 46, of Albion, possessed ingredients used to make meth.

“The original tip was for meth precursors,” Columbia City Police Capt. Tony Hively said.

While investigating the vehicle, at approximately 3:53 p.m., police found items more dangerous than meth-making materials.

“There were bomb-making materials found inside the vehicle,” Hively said.

Though the bomb wasn’t put together, police say it could have been assembled in seconds and materials are typically kept separate until ready to use.

According to police, Sample left the vehicle unattended in Ace Hardware’s parking lot.

“There was no intention to blow up Ace Hardware,” Hively said. “We evacuated surrounding businesses as a precaution. When I discovered the articles in the trunk, I had no idea how many explosive materials were inside with all of the articles inside the trunk.”

Hively said based on his experience with explosives, he evacuated what he thought was a safe distance, 300 meters. Police shut down Diplomat Drive as a precaution until Fort Wayne Police Department’s bomb squad arrived, at 5:02 p.m.

The bomb squad decreased the radius to 100 meters upon investigation.
Hively said there were devices filled with shrapnel, detonating cords and gun powder inside the vehicle.

The explosives were turned over to Fort Wayne’s bomb squad.

“We don’t have the capability of housing them. They (Fort Wayne) took possession of them and will dispose of them properly.”

Upon interrogation from Whitley County Sheriff’s Detective Chuck Vogley, Sample allegedly said the materials belonged to her boyfriend.

The case remains under investigation.

Sample was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and possession of paraphernalia. According to Hively, there was no active meth lab found inside the vehicle.

She is being held at the Whitley County Jail on a $14,000 surety bond and is scheduled to go to court Aug. 6.

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