Court building evacuated after discarded pipe found on property


DOVER — A discarded foot-long copper pipe found in front of Delaware Family Court caused a two-hour disturbance Tuesday before being deemed harmless.

According to Capitol Police Chief John E. Horsman, the pipe was discovered near the building’s entrance by an officer on routine patrol at approximately 5 p.m.

An evacuation took place immediately. Judges and court staff were ordered from the building located at 400 Water St.

“When you’re dealing with something suspicious it’s always best to err on the side of caution for the safety for our officers and the public,” Chief Horsman said.

Dover Police arrived to close nearby Water and Court streets as the investigation began.

Court Street was shut down for about 30 minutes while Water Street remained closed until the situation ended, Chief Horsman said.

A Delaware State Police Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit arrived and operated a robot to move the pipe to a safe area.

Chief Horsman said the pipe was found to be inert and contained no explosives at roughly 7 p.m.

The pipe was crimped on both ends, he said.

After reviewing surveillance video, Chief Horsman said, “We do believe now that someone entering the court saw the (scanning procedure) inside and discarded the pipe.

“We have a solid lead on a suspect.”

The chief said that criminal charges are possible and any arrest would be announced publicly.

“It’s a reckless act,” Chief Horsman said.

“I’m not sure it could be called an intentional act, but it’s a reckless act.”

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