Police disarm pipe bomb at Iowa polling site

Police in Ankeny, Iowa, say they disarmed a live pipe bomb after it was found by a pair of dog walkers at a polling location as voting took place in a local election Tuesday. 

"Ankeny Police officers were called to the Lakeside Center, 400 NW Lakeshore Drive, in reference to a suspicious device," the city said on Tuesday. "When officers arrived they observed what appeared to be a pipe bomb. The Lakeside Center was being used as a polling location today for the Ankeny Community School District special election and officers immediately evacuated the building."

Once called to the scene, police said they deployed a bomb squad and neutralized the threat. 

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Local police said they do not have any leads on who left the pipe bomb at the center and added that they have not received any reports of other devices or threats to other polling locations. 

Voting at the Lakeside Center was halted for about three hours during the incident, election officials said. 

Rep. Cindy AxneCindy AxneTop House Democratic group launches six-figure ad campaign to sell infrastructure package State Democrat group teams up with federal lawmakers to elect down-ballot candidates Conservative group targeting House Democrats over SALT positions MORE (D-Iowa) said she was deeply concerned about the revelation.

"This threat to our elections is unacceptable, and those responsible should be held accountable for this attempted violence against our democracy and its citizens," Axne said in a statement. "I want to thank our law enforcement officers, first responders, and local election officials who acted quickly to protect Iowa voters and poll workers."

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate (R) praised local law enforcement for their timely response to the threat.

"Great job today @Polkauditorfitz, poll workers, law enforcement & everyone involved with ensuring the safety of voters & the public," he tweeted, tagging Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald. "Thank you to all. True team effort."

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Since the 2020 presidential election, law enforcement officials have warned against the growing threat of political violence.

In January, the Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin due to a "heightened threat environment across the United States."

"Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence," the bulletin read.

A poll conducted in February found that 1 in 3 Americans believe violence is justified if U.S. leaders fail to protect the country.