Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating an incident reported in South Kohala on Tuesday (December 5) by a local vehicle tow company.

At about 9:40 a.m. the tow company reported receiving a phone call from an individual about a car in the company’s possession. After taking a closer look, the owner of the tow company became very concerned about a device resembling a “pipe bomb” affixed to the front of the vehicle.

Responding officers confirmed the description given by tow company employees and conferred with U.S. Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) personnel about the suspicious device. After reviewing photographs of the device, EOD personnel elected to fly to Waimea from Oahu, along with special agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Late Tuesday night the device was disassembled and it was determined that the contents were not explosive.

The investigation will be continued by detectives with the Police Department’s Area II Criminal Investigations Division with assistance from the FBI and ATF.

As a result of this incident, approximately 12 homes and their 21 occupants in the Nani Waimea subdivision were displaced while personnel worked to identify and safely disassemble the suspicious device. Police apologize for the inconvenience caused to those residents but, given the circumstances, it was the prudent thing to do.

Police ask anyone with information about the vehicle and/or the device to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.