Two people have been charged after police allegedly located a suspicious device believed to be a portable bomb at a shopping centre in Queensland, Australia, which prompted an emergency declaration on Monday morning, April 2.
An emergency situation was declared at 9:15 a.m. at Redbank Plaza — a popular shopping centre near Ipswich — after a “fairly large glass jar” containing an explosive liquid and other components was allegedly found in the vehicle of a 37-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman, according to police, reported The Queensland Times.
— Queensland Police (@QldPolice) April 2, 2018
Queensland police have confirmed that specialist police have dismantled the device. The car has also been removed from the shopping centre car park, reported the newspaper.
The suspects first caught the attention of the Ipswich council CCTV officers at 7:15 a.m. when the suspects were seen acting suspiciously in the car park. Police were then notified and an exclusion zone was put in place, reported 7News. Police reportedly found an alleged explosive device in a cardboard box in the passenger footwell of the car during their investigation.
The exclusion zone was lifted at 11:35 a.m. after the device was rendered safe.
Senior Sergeant Gareth James told reporters that authorities were concerned about the length of time the pair stayed in their car and their “general behaviour,” reported the news station.
The pair’s vehicle was allegedly obtained through a “fraudulent transaction” several days ago, meaning it could have been stolen or obtained through fraud, according to The Queensland Times.
Police are now investigating the intended use of the alleged portable explosive device. “I don’t know what gain they could have from exploding it in a carpark,” James told the newspaper.
“The shopping centre itself wasn’t actually open at the time so we believe they were just parked here, the reason being, we do not know.”
The 37-year-old Camira man has been charged with two counts of manufacturing explosives without authority, and one count each of possessing dangerous goods, possessing tainted property, stealing, receiving tainted property, driving an unregistered vehicle, driving an uninsured vehicle, and offences involving registration certificates, according to a police statement.
The 31-year-old Capalaba woman was charged with possessing dangerous goods, possessing tainted property, fraud, forgery, uttering, stealing, and receiving tainted property.
One of the suspects was previously known to police, reported The Courier Mail.
They are both due to appear in Ipswich Magistrates Court on Tuesday, April 3.