The startling discovery of a fake bomb that triggered a massive police response in Linden, New Jersey, Tuesday night was captured on surveillance video obtained exclusively by NBC 4 New York.
The hoax device, found in a store parking lot between two residential buildings near W. St. Georges Avenue and N. Stiles Street, forced hundreds of residents to leave their homes as local and federal agencies ensured there was no threat to public safety.
It was a convenience store clerk and a customer who first noticed the device, which appeared to be dynamite and wires, video shows.
The men call police, and as officers arrive, they shine a flashlight on the device. They urgently begin clearing the parking lot and evacuating nearby apartments, then send in a bomb disposal robot, video shows.
The hoax device is dismantled, and the bomb squad moves in looking for other potential devices and clues.
The scare shook up residents, just months after Linden police arrested accused bomb Ahmad Rahami after a shootout less than two miles away.
"Something so close to home really makes you think twice -- what's the message someone is trying to send," said resident Lisa Lagreca.
Mayor Derek Armstead told NBC 4 New York photos of the device showed a bunch of dynamite-like objects tied together with tape and a device attached to them. He said the object appeared to have a detonation device on it.
"Whoever did it went to great lengths to make it," Armstead said. "We're trying to find someone who caused a great deal of disturbance and tied up a lot of resources."
Linden Police Chief Jonathan Parham commended the citizens who contacted police.
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"This event, like so many others we have seen, truly highlights the significance of the police-community relationship, and how important it is for our friends and neighbors to remain vigilant. We cannot do our jobs without you," said Parham.
Anyone with information about the device is asked to call Dennis Donovan at the prosecutor's office at 732-232-2049 or Joseph Kaulfers with Linden police at 908-474-8537. The Union County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment.