Local, county, and state authorities responded to an Ocean County auto dealership parking lot Thursday morning after workers discovered what appeared to be an explosive device but subsequently determined to be harmless. 

Toms River Police Department spokesman Ralph Stocco says police responded to the report of a possible pipe bomb in the Honda of Toms River parking lot on Route 37 shortly after 9 a.m. 

Authorities evacuated nearby residences as a precautionary measure while the investigation got underway. 

The New Jersey State Police Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit responded, and members deployed a remotely operated robot to approach the object, analyze with a video camera, and utilize a portable x-ray to internally examine the device, Stocco said.

Then wearing protective gear, unit members approached and disabled the object. An "all clear" was announced at 11:30 a.m. 

Stocco says the object was not harmful but modeled to appear as an explosive device. The object was approximately 12-inches long and 5-inches wide and wrapped in black tape with several wires and electrical connectors protruding from the ends, he said.

"It was placed there intentionally for an as yet to be determined motive," Stocco said.

Investigators remained at the scene as of early Thursday afternoon to review video footage and speak with potential witnesses, according to the police spokesman.