North St. Paul police wait for fingerprint analysis from hoax bomb

Nearly three weeks after a report of a suspicious package evacuated a block of commercial buildings in downtown North St. Paul, triggering a visit from the St. Paul Bomb Squad to investigate and dismantle the "hoax device," police officers are waiting for fingerprints to be analyzed in their search for who may have assembled it.

According to North St. Paul Capt. Dustin Nikituk, the duffel bag and its contents were put together to resemble a bomb, and they were sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Forensic Science Service lab for analysis of latent prints. He said results could take months, and that no suspects have been identified.

Police are still urging the public to report any information or tips related to the incident, he said.

Just after noon on Nov. 14, North St. Paul police received a report of a suspicious package next to a trash can in front of Luther Auctions at 2556 E. Seventh Ave.

When officers arrived at the scene, they saw a black duffel bag with a Minnesota Wild emblem on it, containing wires and other concerning items, according to Nikituk. The bomb squad was contacted.

Squad cars and a fire truck blocked the intersections at Margaret and Charles streets. Going door to door, officers and firefighters told shoppers, residents, business owners and employees that they had to evacuate the area. The Next Step School, operated by the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District in the Keindel's Korner building, was also evacuated.

The bomb squad advised local firefighters and officers to get behind a fire truck at about 2 p.m., shortly before the squad blew up the package down the street.

The street was then quickly reopened. A banana peel, batteries and a container, which was decorated with a skull and crossbones and had some wires protruding from it, littered the sidewalk. Business owners and employees then watched police put the materials into evidence bags.

--Kaitlyn Roby


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