Origin of suspicious device that caused evacuation: 'It looked authentic, but it was a dud'

In an exclusive interview, Old Rooster Antique Mall employee Gene Matzke tells KIMT he thought he was doing the right thing by bringing it to police.

Posted: May 22, 2019 5:50 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. – It’s a learning opportunity after a man brings a potentially explosive device to a Rochester police precinct on Tuesday, causing an evacuation.

The series of events began at Old Rooster Antique Mall.

In an exclusive interview, employee Gene Matzke tells KIMT two women were looking to get rid of some old stuff. Matzke ended up buying a box of military items from them, which included the mystery device.

“Three sticks of dynamite – they were taped together, had some batteries, and a timer,” Matzke said. “But the batteries were corroded and I didn't really think it was a problem.”

Matzke brought the device to the police, and that’s when the chaotic scene unfolded.

“They must've been very, very concerned,” Matzke said. “[They] called the bomb squad in the cities and they came down with a robot and picked it up, took it back to the cities, and several hours later they clarified that it was a dud. It looked authentic, but it was a dud.”

Rochester Police compared the suspicious device to a prop you would see in the movies.

Matzke thought he was doing the right thing.

“I was not concerned at the time,” Matzke said. “So that's why I did it the way I did.”

Now, police are advising people with similar devices to call them. They will come to you in order to avoid situations like on Tuesday.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 9462
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Otter Tail9611126
Benton8815124
Beltrami801794
Goodhue786596
Douglas7689100
Itasca752796
Mower721349
Winona702756
McLeod694483
Isanti681383
Steele669431
Morrison663479
Becker620873
Polk591684
Freeborn550846
Carlton529474
Nobles521654
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Mille Lacs516573
Nicollet510960
Pine500641
Cass491252
Todd483642
Brown465057
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Martin378143
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Cases: 520452

Reported Deaths: 7289
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Woodbury20490258
Johnson19778105
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Story1380258
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Webster7326122
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Jasper619591
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Lee5908105
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Henry418655
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Jones404862
Unassigned40470
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Washington391463
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Carroll367755
Mahaska365365
Crawford353747
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