May 23, 2013 | Volume 43, Number 20

'Bomb-like device' found in book bin

Haines police and troopers responded Wednesday night to a report of a bomb-like device inside the library’s book return receptacle.

The device consisted of six wrapped cylinders connected via a series of wires to what appeared to be a small circuit board. Trooper Ken VanSpronsen determined the device wasn’t explosive, but might have been intended to start a fire. “It had the potential to do that, but it wasn’t hooked up right,” VanSpronsen said.

Volunteer Diana Edwards discovered the device while emptying the receptacle of returned books around 7 p.m. “I thought it was something a kid had just dropped in there by mistake, but I saw there were a bunch of wires hooked up to some kind of circuit board,” Edwards said.

Officer Josh Knore arrived at the scene first and called VanSpronsen for back-up. The two investigated the device and eventually unwrapped the cylinders, which turned out to be high-voltage lithium batteries.

VanSpronsen said batteries of a certain voltage can be hooked up in a way to generate enough heat to start a fire, but it appeared the device had been rigged improperly.

Whether the device was planted with malicious intent or as a prank is unclear, he said.

Edwards told Knore the library does not have surveillance cameras installed near the entrance, but that the device hadn’t been there at 4:30 p.m. when another volunteer had unloaded the bin.