Editor’s note: The above video originally aired on March 3, 2021.
ANKENY, Iowa — The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are seeking leads from the community about the pipe bomb found outside a polling place in Ankeny last week.
A polling place at the Lakeside Center at 400 NW Lakeshore Drive was evacuated last Tuesday after passersby noticed a suspicious device in the grass near the building. Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald said the device was found around 9:30 a.m. He described it as a metal piece with two end caps.
Ankeny police confirmed the device was a live pipe bomb. The State Fire Marshals Office was called in and technicians rendered the bomb safe. No one was injured.
Tips about the pipe bomb can be emailed to the FBI Omaha Des Moines Resident Agency at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 402-493-8688. When prompted, press 1.
Additionally, the FBI said they were notified of reports last year of “sporadic, loud, explosive noises” throughout Ankeny. The FBI said some of the reports were described as “louder than a gunshot or a firework.” The FBI wants residents who may have heard these noises to contact them about when and where they heard the noises.
Ankeny police do not know who left the pipe bomb and are still working to determine a motive. Authorities said last week that there is no indication the election and the bomb were connected.
“Was it related to an election? We have nothing that says that,” said Ankeny Police Sgt. Corey Schneden. “We want to work through this … There’s a bunch of different variables that go into it, so we don’t want anyone to jump to any conclusions.”
The Lakeside Center was being used as a polling location for the Ankeny Community School District special election. It eventually reopened and the incident did not affect the votes that were cast at the location.