A Valparaiso woman is in custody after police discovered a pipe bomb in her vehicle Saturday in Center Township.

At about 11:50 a.m. Porter County police were called out to the area of Division Road and Woodruft Drive for a possible car crash. Police said they observed a black 2011 Hyundai parked on the roadway with damage to the rear of the vehicle. Police said they found Katrina Franzen, 32, asleep in the driver's seat. 

According to police, Franzen's license was suspended and there was no fresh damage to the car. After obtaining consent from Franzen, police said they searched the car and inside a box on the passenger side floor that appeared to be a pipe bomb with a fuse attached.

The Porter County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad arrived on the scene and after confirming the device was a pipe bomb, they rendered the device safe, police said.

Franzen was taken into custody and transported to Porter County Jail on preliminary charges of felony possession of a destructive device.

Police said when interviewed by detectives, Franzen told them 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, as she didn’t want to bring it to the police station. Police said Franzen told them it belonged to a previous boyfriend.

As to why she was parked in that location, police said Franzen stated she had dropped another friend off at work earlier Saturday and had been driving around trying to clear her mind due to a headache. She subsequently parked on Woodruft Drive at Division Road and fell asleep.

Police said it was determined there was no further threat to the public and although this was a pipe bomb, this incident is not related to the recent East Chicago pipe bomb explosion.

On Wednesday, a pipe bomb caused an explosion inside the East Chicago post office at 901 E. Chicago Ave., injuring one postal worker.

The FBI is investigating the explosion. 

Porter County Sheriff David Reynolds gave thanks to the individual who observed Franzen's vehicle and called police to check on it.

"We encourage everyone to call your local police when you observe suspicious activity," he said.

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Rob covers urban affairs and other matters in Crown Point, St. John, Winfield and beyond. Previously he covered Valparaiso, Hammond, Gary and East Chicago. He's also written for various magazines and pens a culture blog for The Times.