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The Latest: Congressman says bomber is 'mentally unhinged'

Posted September 17

— The Latest on the pipe bomb that exploded in a New Jersey shore town shortly before thousands of runners were due to participate in a charity 5K race to benefit Marines and sailors (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

A New Jersey congressman says the person responsible for the pipe bomb blast in a shore town before thousands of runners were due to take part in a charity 5K race to benefit marines and sailors is "mentally unhinged."

Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-Toms River, described the Seaside Park community as military centered, with lots of veterans and active duty military personnel. He says those in the area have been through a lot, with Superstorm Sandy and its aftermath, and now the bomb blast.

He said he's confident law enforcement will find the person responsible. MacArthur says that person needs to be "tracked down and brought to justice."

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6 p.m.

The FBI has taken over the investigation of a pipe bomb blast that occurred in a New Jersey shore town shortly before thousands of runners were due to take part in a charity 5K race to benefit marines and sailors.

But they won't say whether they believe the incident was terror related.

Brad Cohen, the acting special agent in charge of the FBI's office in Newark, declined to discuss the matter at length during a brief news conference staged Saturday evening. He declined to take questions from reporters, citing the "active, ongoing" investigation.

Officials said residents who had been told to leave their homes earlier in the day would be allowed to return Saturday night. But several beaches in the area will remain closed until further notice.

No injuries were reported in the blast.

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 and no one was in the immediate area when the blast happened.

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2:45 p.m.

New Jersey State Police say there was nothing to reports of another explosive device near the Jersey Shore site where a pipe bomb exploded.

Also, they say, bomb technicians have "rendered safe" the items located in a plastic trash can where the explosion occurred around 9:30 a.m. Saturday in Seaside Park.

No injuries were reported in the blast and no surrounding structures were damaged.

The explosion occurred shortly before thousands of runners were due to take part in a charity 5K race to benefit marines and sailors.

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 and no one was in the area when the blast happened.

The race — the third annual Semper Five run — was canceled.

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9:30 a.m.

Authorities say a pipe bomb exploded in a Jersey Shore town shortly before thousands of runners were due to take part in a charity 5K race to benefit marines and sailors.

No injuries were reported in the blast in Seaside Park, which occurred around 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

The race — the third annual Semper Five run — was canceled.

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.

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Associated Press writers Bruce Shipkowski in Trenton and Michael Balsamo in Seaside Park contributed to this report.

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