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Homemade pipe bombs used in ATM attack

Police teams search through an area near the Chartwell Mall in Hamilton after reports of possible homemade explosives on 6 August, 2020. Photo: RNZ / Andrew McRae

Police are conducting a number of enquiries as the investigation continues into a number of explosive devices located at Chartwell Shopping Centre this morning.

Police were first notified at around 6.30am after a report was received relating to a number of suspicious devices located outside an ATM at the shopping centre.

Police immediately attended the scene and cordons were put in place around the shopping centre, with the New Zealand Defence Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team called in to deal with the devices.

The mall was evacuated as a precaution while the Specialist Search Group undertook a thorough and detailed search of the shopping centre and the surrounding area to ensure there were no further items of concern.

Police can confirm a number of homemade pipe bombs were located by the ATM, in what appears to be a deliberate and targeted attack on the ATM.

One of the explosive devices has detonated and a second partially detonated, with the remainder failing to detonate.

The damage was limited to the ATM and was relatively minor.

The explosive devices were taken away by specialist Defence Force personnel.

Following a comprehensive search of the shopping centre and the surrounding streets, Police located no further items of concern and the mall was reopened around midday.

Police remain at the scene carrying out a scene examination this afternoon.

As a result of CCTV enquiries, Police can confirm that two offenders are involved.

The explosive devices are believed to have been placed by the ATM shortly after 2.30am and the devices that detonated went off moments later.

The offenders have fled the scene and no money was taken.

At the time, police did not receive any reports in relation to this.

“I want to acknowledge that this was a concerning incident for our Hamilton community which will have unsettled some people," says Inspector Andrea McBeth.

“I understand that a lot of shop workers at the mall have had concerns for their safety following this incident.

“I want to reassure our community that there is no ongoing concern for their safety.

This appears to be a deliberate and specific plot to damage an ATM and we are satisfied there is no wider risk to the public.

“The homemade devices were fairly simplistic and low-level and were not the type to cause widespread damage.

“Obviously this was a serious incident and the fact there remained undetonated devices at the ATM for a period of time meant the offenders put members of the public at risk.

“We are carrying out a range of enquiries to find the offenders responsible so we can hold them to account.

“We have increased our Police presence in the area to offer reassurance to the public and our staff have been speaking to shop workers to assure them that there is no risk to their safety.”

Police are appealing for anyone with information around suspicious activity around the complex near Lyndon Court shortly after 2.30am to contact Hamilton Police by phoning 105.

Anyone with information about this incident can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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