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Man hid homemade bombs at one of busiest set of downtown buildings, police say

PITTSBURGH — A man is accused of leaving a backpack filled with homemade explosives outside of a downtown Pittsburgh office tower just a day after Saturday’s peaceful protest turned violent.

Police said Matthew Michanowicz, 52, hid homemade bombs at one of the busiest set of buildings downtown: PNC Plaza.

Arson investigators said the suspect’s brown-camo backpack containing three “suspicious devices” were found in bushes at the building Monday morning, forcing evacuation of the plaza while the bomb squad investigated.

According to officials, security camera footage in the area actually showed Michanowicz leaving the backpack on Sunday. He rode up on a bike, looked around for a few seconds and then left the backpack in the bushes.

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Police described the devices found in the backpack as “throwable canisters filled with an ignitable liquid and a fuse.”

When confronted with the video evidence, investigators said Michanowicz told them he had no idea what they were talking about. He allegedly said he just threw away a paper bag.

Bomb sniffing dogs and an increased police presence were downtown the past few days since the backpack was found.

Even after Michanowicz was shown multiple photos showing him with the backpack and placing the backpack in the bushes, police said he continued to deny it.

Michanowicz was released on bond Thursday, but sheriff’s deputies placed him back in custody Friday night after a search warrant of his Mt. Washington home turned up several items, including “elements for explosive devices.”

Due to what was found during the search, officials said his bond was revoked because authorities believe Michanowicz is a “danger to the community” and needs a “behavioral evaluation.”