Iowa City Police: Device Found Sunday Was Not A Bomb

By Vanessa Miller, Reporter

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By Jay Knoll

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Iowa City police said Monday that the suspicious package disposed of by the Johnson County Metro Bomb team Sunday evening was not an explosive device.

“It was not a bomb,” Sgt. Vicki Lalla said Monday afternoon.

Lalla said she is waiting on more information about the investigation before releasing additional details.

Police cordoned off the area by Dubuque and Washington streets – near the Englert Theatre – while the bomb team analyzed the suspicious item. Police have not yet said what that item was. Downtown Iowa City had been bustling with activity since Friday afternoon with the annual Iowa Arts Festival bringing even more people downtown.

The festival concluded at 5 p.m. Sunday.

The bomb squad used a remote control robot to “secure evidence” from the package and identify its contents, according to Iowa City police. Authorities then used a water cannon to destroy the package.

Lalla said the police department was assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations in the investigation, which is standard protocol.

No one has been charged in connection with the investigation, but police did arrest one 32-year-old Iowa City man during their investigation of the package because they said he threw a “silver bomb cracker,” according to a police report.

Steven Abraham Crittenden is accused of throwing the firework in the street in front of the Deadwood at 6 S. Dubuque St., less than a block away from the suspicious package, at 11:33 p.m., according to police. It caused a “loud boom,” according to police, and Crittenden is accused of going back into the Deadwood before trying to leave the area on his bike, police reported.

When contacted by police, Crittenden refused to answer questions and said he didn’t know anything about fireworks, according to the report.

He smelled strongly of alcohol, admitted to drinking and also confessed to having a beer in his pocket, police reported. After he was taken into custody, police found two more “silver bomb crackers” in Crittenden’s pocket, according to the report.

He faces charges including reckless use of explosives, a serious misdemeanor, interference with official acts and public intoxication. He is being held in the Johnson County Jail in lieu of a $2,500 bond.
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