Bomb-looking object found in Routt National Forest deemed a hoax | SteamboatToday.com

Bomb-looking object found in Routt National Forest deemed a hoax

A Routt County Sheriff’s Office deputy keeps people away from Buffalo Pass after a suspicious package was found Tuesday.

Authorities believe a bomb-looking object found along the main Buffalo Pass road Tuesday morning was a hoax.

Undersheriff Ray Birch said whoever placed it there faces serious state and federal charges, because the incident stressed police resources when they were trying to handle other calls.

"You're just relieved this was not a device that could potentially kill a bunch of people," Birch said.
The device was found by a person hiking in the area at about 11 a.m. near Routt County Road 38 about four miles east of Dry Lake Campground.

Birch described the area where the device was found as an open area, but he did not want to provide specific details because of an ongoing investigation.

He said it was not placed near any trails or camping areas.

While Birch said he was told not to release a photo of the device, a Steamboat Today reporter was shown a photo of it by non-police personnel.

It was a box, rectangular in shape, and it appeared to be wrapped with duct tape.

It looked as if wires were attached to a mouse trap strapped to the top of the package.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office bomb squad was sent a photo of the object, and police and U.S. Forest Service personnel immediately cleared the area.

"We maintained what we felt was a safe distance while keeping visual of where the bomb was at," Birch said.

A Routt County Sheriffs Office deputy was stationed at the Dry Lake Campground gate to make sure people stayed out.

At about 6:30 p.m., the device was rendered safe.

At this time, authorities believe the device was a hoax, placed intentionally to simulate a bomb.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is involved in the investigation, and Birch said he was told not to release certain details.

He said the bomb squad did not blow up device, and it was collected for evidence.

Birch said he could not comment on how long the device might have been there.

This was not the first time a possible explosive has been found in the Routt National Forest.

On Oct. 7, 2015, a device was found below the Pony Express lift line at Steamboat Ski Area.

The Jefferson County Bomb Squad came and rendered that device safe.

The F.B.I. has taken jurisdiction of Tuesday’s case, and Birch did not know the status of the investigation.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland