Police said a Valparaiso woman charged Monday after an active pipe bomb was found in her car told them it belonged to her ex-boyfriend and she didn't know how it ended up in her car.
Katrina L. Franzen, 32, of Valparaiso, was found about 11:50 a.m. Saturday asleep at the wheel of a car parked in the area of Division Road and Woodruft Drive in Center Township, according to Porter County court records.
Franzen smelled of alcohol and told a Porter County sheriff's officer she had been drinking the night before, court records say.
The officer found the pipe bomb after Franzen consented to a search of her car, records said.
The bomb was in a small box, which was closed with a clasp but not locked. The officer opened the box and saw a metal pipe with a wick in one end and a cap on both ends, records said.
"I knew it to be a pipe bomb," Officer Robert Gosbin wrote in a probable cause affidavit. "I then placed the open box on the ground and left the area and called for a bomb squad member to respond."
The Porter County Sheriff's Department bomb squad determined the device was active and rendered it safe, records said.
When told of the pipe bomb, Franzen told the officer it belonged to an ex-boyfriend who is imprisoned in Missouri. Franzen claimed the ex-boyfriend left it in her residence when he left the area, and she left it locked in her home because she didn't know what to do with it, records say.
"I then asked her how it got into her vehicle, and she said that she did not know," the officer wrote. "I asked her if she had any ill intentions with the bomb, and she said that she did not."
Franzen later told detectives during an interview that the device had been in her car for the last two weeks and she was planning to take it to a friend to make it safe, Porter County sheriff's police said.
Franzen told police she had not been parked in the area for long, but a witness said he first spotted her vehicle about 7 a.m., records said. The witnesses also told police Franzen had been seen parked in the area on several other occasions for several hours at a time.
Franzen faces a felony count of possession of a destructive device.
Police said Frazen's case is not related to the pipe bomb explosion last week at the East Chicago post office.