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Bomb squad called for suspicious backpacks outside Cottage Grove armory

Cottage Grove police and the St. Paul bomb squad set a perimeter around the armory and All Saints Lutheran Church, both on Belden Boulevard, Monday following the report of a three suspicious backpacks. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)1 / 2
Two suspicious backpacks were found outside the Cottage Grove National Guard Armory Monday morning. They did not contain explosive or threatening material, police said. (Photo courtesy of Cottage Grove Police Department)2 / 2

A bomb squad was called to Cottage Grove Monday morning after suspicious backpacks were found outside the National Guard Armory.

National Guard staff called police after they arrived around 7 a.m. and found two unattended backpacks leaning against a bike rack near the armory’s main entrance, “which obviously is suspicious,” Cottage Grove police Capt. Pete Koerner said.

A third backpack was found outside the nearby All Saints Lutheran Church, 8100 Belden Blvd.

The armory, 8180 Belden Blvd., was evacuated and police used the Code Red alert system to call residents within a two-block radius of the armory. They were told to stay inside their home.

The St. Paul Police Department’s bomb squad was called to the scene. The bomb squad’s robotic equipment removed the backpacks, which did not contain explosives or anything threatening, Koerner said.

The backpacks were turned over to Cottage Grove police for further investigation. It was not immediately known what was in the backpacks.

The Code Red alert was canceled shortly after 10 a.m.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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