Pipe bomb explodes before Marines charity 5K in New Jersey

SEASIDE PARK, N.J.  — An explosion that went off in a garbage can Saturday morning in a New Jersey beach town was likely timed to disrupt a Marine Corps charity run, authorities said.

Two to three pipe-bomb-type devices wired together were set off near the boardwalk in Seaside Park. No injuries were reported, and a four-block area was evacuated, authorities said.

Al Della Fave, a spokesman for the Ocean County prosecutor’s office, said he believes the blast was meant to affect the Seaside Semper Five race.

“Where, if it was just a matter of minutes, in terms of difference, there would have been a good number of people running past that explosive device,” Della Fave said, considering its location along the run route.

Just after the explosion, Della Fave said, the area was placed on lockdown, and police deployed bomb detection dogs. He said no additional devices were found after the dogs completed their sweep.

“Until the bomb squad gives us the all-clear in terms of that garbage pail, we’re going to keep that area closed off,” he said.

Law enforcement sources said at least one of the devices did not explode.

It’s not clear whether the motive was criminal or terrorist, Della Fave said, but “it’s obvious it was meant to affect the run.”

The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and local law enforcement are investigating, an FBI official said.

A race volunteer told CNN’s Anne Woolsey that police and local law enforcement made the decision to shut down the race.

“It is a real shame that that charitable run that does so many great things for the Marines is now canceled,” Della Fave said. “There’s no word on when it will be rescheduled, but that’s where we’re at right now.”

The pipe bomb was in a garbage can when it exploded. Authorities immediately cleared the boardwalk and beach area.

Officials say runners had been scheduled to pass by the area around the time the blast occurred. But the start of the race had been delayed after an unattended backpack was found.

Numerous state and federal law enforcement agencies are investigating.

It wasn’t clear when the boardwalk and beach will reopen.