Local Kicked 'Improvised Bomb' Before Realising What It Was
A Mullumbimby business owner who unknowingly kicked an improvised bomb has told of his relief after it was defused.
A large section of the town’s CBD in northern New South Wales was locked down for more than nine hours yesterday after a suspicious-looking device was found in a laneway behind the Commonwealth Bank.
Mark Thomas has told Ten News First he found the pipe bomb out the front of his hire shop.
“Makes me more nervous that I rolled it over with my foot to confirm it was a bomb,” he said.
“Just in a bit of shock, no real thought about it. Just been too busy catching up this morning to think about it too much.”
Police set up an exclusion zone and evacuated businesses, including the council building for most of Thursday, until bomb experts arrived from Sydney.
Last night, they deemed the device safe to move, saying it didn’t have the capacity to detonate.
New South Wales Police chief inspector Luke Arthurs said it contained evidence of explosives.
“They've actually got the device - physically touched it - opened it and rendered it safe,” he told Ten News First.
“Investigations will continue and the detectives will be trying to track down the offender responsible for creating this device."
Forensic officers dusted the scene for fingerprints last night, as detectives reviewed CCTV taken in the area to determine how it got there.
Local businesses meanwhile were allowed to reopen today, to the relief of staff.
Rock and Roll Café manager Tim Parsonage said the evacuation hurt their business.
“We had bookings for last night we had a booked out restaurant for night trade we had to ring people up and cancel their bookings,” he said.
“Money is - in a small town - it's pretty important to have your regular clients.”
Principal agent Adam Mangleson from Chincogan Real Estate said his office was trying to catch up.
“Our trust account with the bank we had settlements we couldn't get to, reports from council that were waiting for contracts. It was a whole gamut of things that sort of snowballed,” he said.
He told Ten News First the bomb threat had shaken the friendly rural town.
“I must admit when I opened the doors early this morning I did have a good look around. Yeah, it is very concerning,” Mangleson said.
Meanwhile, police are still investigating a separate incident at nearby Lismore, where on Tuesday Southern Cross University was placed in lockdown due to a threatening phone call.
Detectives say at this stage there’s no evidence to suggest the two incidents are linked.