Businesses evacuated; four minors allegedly involved released

Law enforcement and emergency officials responded to a bomb threat Tuesday night at a strip mall in Rolla, and four minors who were allegedly involved have been released from custody, pending further investigation.

According to a press release from the Rolla Police Department, police officers responded to a report of suspicious activity inside the old Quizno's restaurant, located at 201-B South Highway 63, between U.S. Cellular and Sun Loan near the intersection of Highways 63 and 72. The RPD was notified around 7:27 p.m.

When the officers arrived, they found four individuals under the age of 21, who were inside the business.

RPD Chief Mark Kearse said one of the minors had keys to the building in order to gain entrance. Police officers detained the four individuals for investigation purposes.

While investigating, the responding officers found "a plastic pipe that contained what appeared to be gun powder" inside a vehicle driven to the strip mall by one of the four minors.

Area businesses were evacuated for safety purposes and police officers established a perimeter after finding the suspicious device.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol's bomb squad out of Jefferson City was then notified and asked to respond and assist with examining and disposing of the device.

Bomb squad investigators determined that the device did not contain a fuse or a way to detonate it. The device was disassembled and made safe without incident.

Also during the investigation, police officers discovered alcoholic beverages inside the vehicle.

The four minors who were detained in connectionwith this incident were questioned and later released pending further investigation.

No arrests have been made at this time, but Kearse said charges may come down later for the alcohol found.

The incident is still under investigation by the RPD's Division of Criminal Investigations Unit and the MSHP bomb squad. Other agencies assisting in the investigation are the MSHP and City of Rolla Fire Fire and Rescue.