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Wednesday, February 20 , 2019, 10:02 pm | Partly Cloudy 47º


Anonymous Tip Leads Authorities to Explosive Device Near Orcutt

An explosive device was found and safely dismantled in an oil field south of Orcutt on Saturday, but the tip to authorities came in an unusual way.

The bizarre incident began around 10:30 a.m. when a man handed an anonymous note to a Transportation Security Administration employee at the Santa Maria Public Airport, according to Kelly Hoover, spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

The note claimed an ordnance was in a remote area off Highway 101 south of Orcutt, and spelled out the location, reportedly near the Union Oil picnic grounds.

Santa Maria police were alerted, along with the Sheriff’s Department since the site was believed to be in the sheriff’s jurisdiction.

Hoover said the suspicious object was found quickly, and the sheriff’s bomb squad arrived and rendered the device safe. The incident was over around 3 p.m., she added.

There were no injuries.

“An investigation is underway to determine who did this and the motivation,” Hoover said. “There was never any direct threat to any person or place.

“It may have been they were trying to get rid of it, but that cost a lot of resources.”

Hoover did not describe the device. Authorities say the man who gave the note to TSA left the area before employees read it.

Anyone with ordnance to dispose of is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Department so it can be handled properly, Hoover said.

“It’s a lot more safe and also efficient to do it that way,” she added.

Anyone who sees a suspicious device should contact law enforcement so it can examined safely.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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