Bomb squad robot helps examine suspicious bag at UNI - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Bomb squad robot helps examine suspicious bag at UNI

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The University of Northern Iowa campus is normally pretty quiet at 3 a.m. But that wasn't the case after university police did a routine sweep of campus Tuesday.

"They had discovered an unattended bag," said Scott Ketelsen, Director of University Relations. 

The bag was found by the Maucker Union, and deemed suspicious after the owner couldn't be found.

"When the UNI PD discovered it at 3 a.m. and hadn't seen it prior -- and given the central location it was located on campus -- it was better just to be safe than sorry," said Ketelsen.

That's where the robot with the Waterloo Bomb Squad came in.

It's equipped with six cameras and an arm, and it's a tool bomb squad technician Brian Hoelscher says is a benefit to the community.

"It allows the local communities' jurisdiction around Waterloo and surrounding areas to have quicker access to the types of tools and things that we can do," said Hoelscher. 

Hoelscher says they are glad this wasn't a dangerous situation, but say this was not an overreaction on their part. In fact he says not every call is a dud.

"Ranging from suspicious packages to World War II-era grenades that somebody found in Grandpa's basement," said Hoelscher.

The bag ultimately had audio/visual equipment in it -- not explosives.

Campus was on lock down for a few hours while the investigation took place.

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