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Authorities find third explosive device along the Ohio River

Submitted photo On Tuesday, two suspicious devices were found on a tugboat about a mile north of the Williamstown Bridge, officials said, while a third was found Wednesday. The FBI, Coast Guard and West Virginia State Police are involved in the investigation.

WILLIAMSTOWN — A potential third explosive device was found along the Ohio River early Wednesday, the third such incident in the last week.

The U.S. Coast Guard is reporting it closed the Ohio River at mile Marker 175 to 179 near Marietta from around midnight to 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The Coast Guard had set up “safety zones” for potential explosives in that area. The Coast Guard blocks off a segment of the river for a period of time to protect public safety.

The “safety zone” was lifted early Wednesday morning, a Coast Guard spokesman said.

The Coast Guard referred all other questions to the West Virginia State Police.

The West Virginia State Police on Wednesday referred questions to the FBI. The FBI office in Charleston referred questions to the FBI office in Pittsburgh

FBI Public Information Officer Catherine Policicchio in Pittsburgh confirmed that there were three incidents federal investigators are looking at now in the Parkersburg area.

She was not able to discuss the specifics of each incident. She could not say if the third incident occurred on a boat or not.

“We are working the case in conjunction with ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives),” she said.

On Tuesday, the Coast Guard closed the Ohio River from mile marker 170 to 174 until 2 a.m. Tuesday when two suspicious devices were found on a tugboat. Wood County officials said it was about a mile north of the Williamstown Bridge.

The State Police reported the WVSP Explosive Response Team was able to safely remove the devices from the boat.

The first was found on a barge near the Pleasants/Tyler County line Oct. 21. Pleasants County Sheriff Chuck Mankins said State Police dismantled a “self-manufactured bomb” on a northbound barge carrying gravel.

A tugboat seen next to the barge that day appeared to be the Janis R. Brewer, believed to be owned by the Kentucky-based Crounse Corporation. A company official contacted last week declined to confirm whether the company owned the boat or comment on the incident.

This investigation remains ongoing and no possible links between the devices have been released.

The FBI is asking people to contact them if they see anything suspicious around the roadways or waterways, Policicchio said. People can call 1-800-CALL-FBI or the field office at 412-432-4000.

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