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USD Explosive Scare Leads To New Jersey Arrest

February 8, 2012, 6:03 PM by Kelly Bartnick

USD Explosive Scare Leads To New Jersey Arrest
VERMILLION, SD -  
The halls of USD's Coyote Village residence hall were calmer Wednesday after a check of a vacant room turned up what looked like explosives the night before.

"They found what they thought were suspicious looking materials. They alerted their supervisor who called campus police," USD Marketing Director Bob Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick says a call from parents to check the room of a former male student prompted the search. The New Jersey student did not return to the university for the second semester. When they made the discovery of possible explosives, staff sent an email to each of the 500 Coyote Village residents.

"They said it was vacant room and there was stuff inside that could be explosive. And they didn't give us any other details besides that," freshman Kelsey Gray said.

"It did not appear to be an immediate danger. But student safety always comes first," Fitzpatrick said.

Authorities were on scene for about five hours late into the night. About 20 students were evacuated, but not the whole building. Students say it was unnerving.

"When I pulled up there's like six cop cars outside and the bomb squad. It was freaky," freshman Anna Fink said.

Fink lives on the second floor of Coyote Village. It's the same floor of the room searched by investigators until early Wednesday morning. Fink and Gray stood in the lobby and watched the commotion.

"With the bomb squad, should we be evacuating? Why are we still in the building if the bomb squad was here? That was the biggest worry for us," Gray said.

The South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation will decide if charges are warranted. Vermillion authorities found an address of a Rutgers student and dormitory in New Jersey. They alerted that school's authorities, who arrested a 19 year-old student there today for theft, possessing fireworks, and having a prohibited weapon.

The FBI is assisting with that investigation.

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