Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Suspicious objects, explosives concern city police

[media-credit name=’BRYAN FAUST/Herald Photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]bombsquad_BF_416[/media-credit]Madison police closed off parts of Webster, King, Main, Doty and Broom streets for several hours Jan. 11 in response to calls about suspicious objects being placed in downtown sewers.

In the calls, citizens reported seeing three objects in manhole covers downtown and another in a mailbox.

Madison Police Department Capt. Mary Schauf said it appeared the recent events were not related to incidents last November and December in which police found pipe bombs in the Dane County Parking Ramp.


"The investigation is still ongoing," she said. "It's still early, so we may later on find that it is, in fact, related."

According to police statements, the Jan. 11 events began with a call to the MPD around 11:30 a.m. in which citizens said they saw a man drop a cylindrical object into a manhole cover at Main and Webster streets. Officers, with help from the Dane County Bomb Squad, later determined the object was non-explosive.

Another call followed shortly after to report another object dropped into a manhole cover at Webster Street. This object was also found to be non-explosive.

At about 1:30 p.m., police received a third call when a manhole cover blew off in the area around Regent Street, but officers discovered water workers had caused the incident.

Then, at approximately 2:45 p.m., a mail carrier called police to report a suspicious package found in the mailbox at the intersection of Doty and Broom streets.

According to MPD Public Information Officer Mike Hanson, the bomb squad rendered this object safe.

Officers then arrested Steve Mundt Jan. 12 in connection with the object placed in the mailbox. Mundt has a history of planting suspicious materials in the Madison area.

Schauf said she was pleased that in the wake of the parking-ramp pipe-bomb investigation the public is taking its duty to inform police of suspicious objects seriously.

"We are trying to encourage people, especially students coming back, to be aware of their surroundings," she said. "We are just trying to look out for the safety of everyone."

The Jan. 11 events disrupted some of the work day, according to Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Communications Director Rose Lynch.

She said the G.E.F building — located on Webster Street — temporarily closed when police blocked off the streets.

"The closing delayed some people," she said, "but it did not drastically affect us."

The MPD's top focus is now on both the recent incidents and an investigation into a pipe bomb that exploded in the South Henry Street ramp Dec. 24. The bomb was placed on the rear tire of a car in the ramp and damaged the vehicle when it went off.

"The magnitude of this [situation] has become the No. 1 investigation for the Madison Police Department," Madison Chief of Police Noble Wray said at a Jan. 9 press conference.

Furthermore, in November, two pipe bombs were placed in the same ramp but neutralized by a bomb squad.

"We have deemed all of these devices as highly dangerous and volatile," MPD Lt. Carl Snyder said. "They could have killed anyone within 20 to 50 feet."

City police are collaborating with numerous agencies, including the FBI and the Dane County Sheriff's Office.

The MPD revealed store-surveillance video of a man it believes to be the suspect in the parking-ramp bomb. The man purchased items matching evidence found at the ramp where the bomb exploded.

Police are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the criminal.

"It's not our intention to create panic," Synder said. "People need to be aware. … We want to help make people as safe as we can."

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