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Bomb Discovered In Fargo Federal Courthouse

August 21, 1986

FARGO, N.D. (AP) _ A bomb squad disarmed a pipe bomb that was delivered to the Federal Building addressed to a federal judge on Wednesday, two days after a similar device exploded at the post office, authorities said.

The small bomb was found in a cardboard box, wrapped in brown paper, and was rigged to blow up if someone tried to open it, said Police Chief Douglas Franks. It took 1 1/2 hours to disarm it.

Franks said the building, which includes the federal courthouse, was evacuated Wednesday afternoon, shortly after authorities discovered the bomb.

Franks said the bomb, which he described as 5 inches long and 2 inches in diameter, ws delivered in a package similar to one that blew up Monday night at the Fargo post office, injuring four postal workers.

Edwin Randel, the technicianwho defused the bomb, said the package was addressed to U.S. District Judge Paul Benson, with a return address of City Hall. Calls to Benson’s Fargo home weren’t answered Wednesday night.

Asked if authorities believed the two bombs were made by the same person, Franks said: ″There is no evidence to suggest that at all. There are similarities between the devices. Once we have more definite information we’ll go from there.″

Franks would not say to whom the bomb was addressed or to what office it was delivered.

Bomb squad officers first tried unsuccessfully to explode the bomb, then began trying to disarm the device.

″We wanted to detonate it because it appeared to be unsafe,″ Franks said. ″But after two unsuccessful tries we decided to disarm it and preserve the evidence.″

The package apparently was discovered on the first floor, Franks said, adding that he did not know if it had been delivered to an office or who alerted police.

The package containing the bomb was similar in shape to one that exploded in the post office after a postal worker tossed it into a collection bin, Franks said.

That bomb damaged a small amount of mail, according to Sterling McKusick, a postal inspector. Four workers were slightly injured in the blast.

McKusick said evidence from the first bomb had been taken to a lab in Washington, D.C., for analysis.

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