Explosives that went missing from Phoenix's international airport during a routine police training several days ago, causing authorities to search the airport several times over the weekend, were spotted by a passing motorist sitting next to a roadside on Monday, police said.
The explosives - two half-pound orange-colored tubes set inside a blue, soft-sided Igloo container - were taken by an "unknown individual" Friday afternoon from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Police had placed the container in the public area of at the airport's Terminal 4 to train police dogs. The area was outside security checkpoints, where there are no restrictions on items carried into the airport, police said.
Airport operations weren't disrupted because of the disappearance, Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said in a statement. Police eventually concluded that the container wasn't near the airport.
The motorist, Raymond Saiz, recognized the container from news reports when he saw it Monday morning on a sidewalk in south Phoenix, about eight miles away from the airport. He picked it up, saw the explosives inside and called police.
"When I saw the orange cylinders in there, I knew that was it," he told KSAZ-TV.
A bomb squad determined that the explosives hadn't been tampered with and safely removed the container. Thompson said the explosives are of the same type used in the mining industry throughout Arizona and can't be detonated without additional equipment and some degree of expertise.
Federal officials were told of the disappearance and were assisting in the investigation, Thompson said.
Airport spokesman Mike Sotomayor said airport officials wouldn't comment on the incident.