Early Tuesday evening, police destroyed a pipe bomb that officers removed from a pickup parked at an automotive shop in central Santa Fe.
The city police bomb squad was called to the business just off Cerrillos Road near Fifth Street after employees there found what appeared to be a pipe bomb while cleaning out a customer’s pickup at about 12:45 p.m.
Denise Vialpando, co-owner of Affordable Alignments, Brakes and Suspension Services LLC, 1501 6th St., said workers found a “weighty” tube with electrical wires protruding from both ends and wrapped in electrical tape under a seat in the truck.
Vialpando said her husband and co-owner, Chris Romero, called police immediately, and employees removed the item from the truck and placed it on the ground in a back lot.
“As soon as the officer saw it, he evacuated all of us,” Vialpando said.
Capt. Aric Wheeler of the Santa Fe Police Department said police destroyed the bomb at a firing range off Airport Road and that it contained an “an unknown explosive filler.”
According to Wheeler, several streets between Cerrillos Road and St. Michael’s Drive were blocked for a few hours as an explosive ordnance team approached and removed the object from the property. Police set up multiple emergency vehicles in the parking lot of the nearby Pantry Restaurant, 1820 Cerrillos Road.
A robot was used to examine the object at the scene, Wheeler said, before bomb squad personnel later wrapped the object in a bomb blanket and removed it.
Just before 3 p.m., an officer was seen leaving a bomb squad vehicle in a protective suit. Minutes later, he returned towing a small, red-wheeled container holding the object.
The 2003 Ford F-350 diesel truck where the object was found is owned by Michelle Lopez. The truck had belonged to her ex-husband, Alfred Martinez, who died about 17 months ago.
Martinez was a driver for Coca-Cola for 15 years and a local mechanic. Lopez said she had no idea what the object was or why it was in the vehicle. Lopez said at the scene that the truck had been parked at her home for almost three years and that she planned eventually to give the vehicle to her daughter, now 12.
The truck was towed to the repair shop last Thursday. “I’ve had the truck for 17 months, and I never cleaned it out,” Lopez said.
She started to tear up as she talked about her ex-husband and said she hadn’t searched the pickup because of the heartache associated with it. “Hopefully, it’s just a fluke,” Lopez said.
Contact Nico Roesler at 986-3089 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nicoroesler.