West Springfield Police Chief: Route 5 incident could have been disastrous

The bomb squad was called in to secure and detonate four pipe bombs

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s been two days since Robert Decoteau III led police on a chase that ended on Route 5 in West Springfield. It was a chase in which he allegedly waved pipe bombs out the window.

Residents watched as he was arrested in his underwear, something police made him do to ensure he had no bombs on him.

West Springfield Police Chief Ronald Campurciani told 22News, “That was done at our insistence, because he alluded to having bombs in that car. He was told to take his clothes off before he got out of the vehicle, and the reason for that was we wanted to make sure he had nothing strapped to his body that we couldn’t see.”

Continuing Coverage: West Springfield Bomb Threat

Once police had Decoteau out of the car and in handcuffs, the bomb squad was called in to secure and detonate four pipe bombs in his truck. According to Chief Campurciani, had those pipe bombs gone off, it could have affected people within at least a 100 yard radius.

Campurciani told 22News, “Sometimes you’ll see pipe bombs made out of PVC pipe and sometimes they make them out of steel. The steel is actually worse, because what it does is it traps the blast just a fraction longer, and that increases how much power is going to be released with it.”

Chief Campurciani noted that some of his officers have a military background, which helped in this situation.