LAURENS COUNTY, SC (WYFF) - Laurens County Sheriff Ricky Chastain says an explosive device was found Saturday while residents were picking up litter in the Wattsville community.
"There wasn't a timer on it, but certainly if someone picked it up, playing with it or examining it, it could have had a tragic outcome for someone," Chastain said.
Chastain said recently, the area has seen crime, so residents wanted to send a message to the criminals: They don't want that activity in their community.
"You've got a small group that is vandalizing, spray-painting signs and causing a problem. Bringing the masses together will hopefully send them a message this is not their community but the people's community," Chastain said.
So families, churches, local leaders and law enforcement teamed up for Community Day. The event included a block party, entertainment, games and a few hours dedicated to picking up trash.
"We think doing things such as this will help reduce the crime problem," Chastain explained.
Hundreds were cleaning up litter in the area around Fleming Mill Road, when one of the volunteers found the suspicious item, authorities said. The item was described as a pipe wrapped in duct tape with the words "bomb test" written on it.
The sheriff tells us traffic was rerouted and explosive technicians from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division were requested to examine the item.
SLED officers arrived at the scene shortly after 1 p.m. and detonated the device. SLED officers were still on the scene trying to determine exactly what was inside of it. An official on the scene said it appeared to be made out of sparklers.
Tammy Walker watched SLED's robot detonate the bomb.
"I'm not surprised, I'm not. After finding a bag that somebody left on our fence with stuff that made meth I'm not surprised anymore of what happens on this road," Walker said.
The sheriff said SLED plans to take the device to its testing facilities in Columbia for further examination.