Nickname triggers bomb scare at Florida State University

Adam Selvidge says: Apparently someone nicknamed "A-Bomb" forgot his briefcase on his car.
04/03/2008 12:35PM - At 11:40 a.m., an FSU parking attendant reported to FSU police that he had spotted a car with a suspicious package on the fourth floor of Parking Garage No. 1 on Woodward Avenue. FSU police responded immediately and found a white Izuzu car in the southeast corner of the fourth floor with a briefcase that displayed a message about a destructive device. FSU police set up a command post nearby, cordoned off the parking garage and the street, and evacuated the building. They also initiated the university’s Alert notification system. The Tallahassee Fire Department and the bomb squad are on scene. The bomb squad is currently assessing the briefcase.

04/03/2008 1:45PM - At 1:30 p.m., the FSU Police Department issued an “all clear” and said they had resolved the incident at Parking Garage No. 1. A local 17-year-old high school student returned to his car and accompanied police as they searched the briefcase that had aroused suspicion. There was nothing inside. He told them that a message that seemed to suggest a destructive device was inside was actually his nickname, “A-Bomb.” Officers allowed those who work in the building to return to their offices and held traffic so that drivers parked in the garage could quickly exit. Surrounding streets were cleared, and the campus returned to normal status.

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  1. I don’t suppose they asked for the locations of the 25 other bombs…

    heh, just thinking about the existentialism of labeling a bomb “Y-Bomb” is very amusing. Perhaps that briefcase would be packed with dandelions and peppermints…

  2. Did they actually think an “A-bomb” was going to fit in a briefcase? Or- for that matter- that a terrorist would actually LABEL a briefcase containing “a bomb”. This is just insane.

  3. It’s crap like this that made Anthrax (the band) change their name to Basket Full of Puppies.

  4. what? The kid wasn’t charged for having a hoax device? Florida police could learn something from Boston(or the other way around).

  5. #6 semiotix: They should change the name of Anthrax (the deadly pathogen) to “puppies”, and they’d have no trouble at all getting their clearly-labeled deadly packages delivered. (“ooh, honey, did you order any puppies? Let’s open up this envelope and see what they look like!”)

    For that matter, if they rename “suitcase nuke” to “suitcase full of perfectly normal papers”, the terrists could sneak those past airport security too.

  6. Oh, yeah. I believe this. Yesterday afternoon while I was spending 45 minutes in Customs, Immigration, Inspection, etc. while driving from Detroit to Windsor, ON I occupied myself by mentally listing all of the jokes, stories, common phrases, hand gestures and facial expressions that can no longer be used within sight of a border. And that was on the OUTBOUND side. The crossing back was a breeze. Canadians seem to be more wary of Americans than they used to be, and I guess we earned that…

  7. I was flying from SFO in July last year and was pretty early for my flight. I checked the terminal and then decided to grab a bite to eat. I had set my Blackberry down in the seat next to me and must’ve forgotten all about it. A few minutes later a Britsh guy found me and told my I better come grab my phone because someone called 911 FROM THE TERMINAL to report my Blackberry as a possible bomb!!

    I got to the terminal as the police were approaching the area and snatched it. As I was walking away I could hear the paranoid person saying, “you just never can be too sure these days”. I rolled my eyes and went back to my meal.

  8. why, why they could hide bombs in drink containers!

    (heh heh, yer all gonna be thirsty now, cuz of me….heh)

  9. heh, just thinking about the existentialism of labeling a bomb “Y-Bomb” is very amusing. Perhaps that briefcase would be packed with dandelions and peppermints…

    The briefcase could have a note that says, “Just because.”

  10. I guess I should be careful or I’ll find myself in a CDC Biosafety Level 4 containment facility because of a nickname picked out for a video game ten years ago.

  11. I sympathize with the border agents. I’m sure they didn’t expect to find that the 100 lbs of gear that I was hauling – air compressor, spools of tubing, power supplies, lead and marble chassis, big black pipes with fittings – was just the parts of a phonograph turntable. ‘Puzzled’ doesn’t begin to cover their reaction.

  12. you know the absurd, fractured, long-drawn-out and fundamentally moronic terms the military loves? (paper,rolled, unbleached,ass, for the wiping of)
    just find out what they call a real thermonuke and use that. No one will call the cops.

  13. I’m an FSU Student and i started receiving alert text messages at around 12.15.

    They never specified what it was until after the whole thing had been cleared away, so most students were just annoyed that no one could get to their cars or into the bookstore or bank.

    most of us just figured they were overreacting to someone dropping a bag on accident… i guess we were right.

  14. One of these days, I fear I’m going to get in trouble as I viciously mock the authorities to their faces for being retarded and labeling something I do as ‘suspicious.’ Surely, this must happen a lot, although we don’t generally hear about it. Most people caught seem to make apologetic statements to the media, not the outraged vitriol such authorities would seem to deserve.

  15. Is there a handbook somewhere that explains all this insanity?

    “Chapter 11: Concealed IEDs.

    Naturally, any self respecting terrorists intent on obtaining their objective will place explosives in a conspicuous location, usually, with the contents clearly labelled. Frequently, so as to avoid suspicion, we have also found that the device in question will display protruding wires, make a ticking noise, or flash brightly colored lights. It should be noted that the red wire is the wire most likely to disable the device. In the event you see any of these telltale signs immediately inform your superior, who will authorize the inevitable overtime pay required to diffuse the terrorist device in question and insure the public that your organization is ‘doing something.'”

    Of course, in the absence of any actual real terrorist threat you’ll just have to make shit up to justify the millions you spent on training and maintaining all that fancy police equipment and personnel.

    Oh well, I’m sure someone will find a use for it later…

  16. I’m an FSU student as well, and I didn’t receive the first text message that there was a problem until 2:18 (while I was on my way to school, no less), which was 45 minutes after it was all clear. The text said only “Suspicious package in parking garage”, which was kinda useless since there are at least five parking garages I know of.

    A couple of years ago, there was a similar scare at my job (an elementary school): one of the janitors had left a garbage bag near the tech lab. We were evacuated and stood outside for over a half an hour while the police and bomb squad investigated.

    I dunno. I understand that people are worried, but on the other hand I feel like its just crazy overreactions.

  17. I should take my briefcase labeled “one million dollars” and buy a nice house and a car.

  18. The worst part was when the bomb acquired intelligence and they tried (unsuccessfully) to talk it out of detonating itself.

  19. Lack of inability to realize irony when one is slapped in the face with it is a clear indicator of lack of:
    1. independent thinking
    2. being smart
    3. not being a ridiculous fear monger
    4. minding your own damn biz if you don’t get it

  20. Both myself and my dad have been nicknamed “A-Bomb” at various points in our lives, he more recently than me. Not that I think either of us have any intention of putting that nickname on anything, but it saddens me that the option to do so if we were so moved is so severely limited by the astonishing credulity of too many, most maddeningly those tasked with seeing beyond surface appearances.

    One of these days I’m going to leave a package of hot dogs with an alarm clock taped to it in public and see just how idiotic people can be.

  21. U S A! U S A!

    The sheer retardacy is unbelievable. Idiocracy got 2 things wrong:
    a) The people depicted in it still showed some intelligence
    b) It was set too far in the future

  22. FSU student here – I got those texts while in class, and no one took them seriously. A friend of mine remarked, “some poor kid probably dropped their biology project.” The most ridiculous things have been happening in Tallahassee this year – there was a huge search party for some kid, a week later they found out he was in jail and had provided a false name, then a Cessna airplane crashes on a major road and took out the power of half of the city. I <3 Tallahassee.

  23. It’s just this kind of overreacting that’s forced me to stop using my nickname “homocidal fundamentalist terrorist who hates your government and has no reason to live”. …addmitedly it wasn’t that great of a nickname anyway, but still.

  24. *sigh*

    This story is all too familiar to me…

    When I was a student at Ohio University in 2006, several campus buildings were shut down because of a “bomb threat.”

    What was it, you ask? It was a bike bearing a sticker for the punk band This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb. For real.

    A faux-cop campus security dude saw the bike, freaked out, and called in the bomb squad. They took apart the bike and concluded that it wasn’t a pipe bomb after all.

    The bike’s owner was initially charged with “inciting panic”, but after the story leaked to national media and the OU police department was sufficiently shamed, the charges were dropped and he got $1,000 for a new bike.

    Swear to god, it’s true.

  25. Is it getting to the point where people will face criminal charges for using the euphemism “f-bomb”? I can’t wait for something like that to happen in Boston.

  26. In the defence of the police, and such, it should be noted that if I were to actually plant a bomb somewhere i most definitely would clearly label it “Bomb” and maybe make it look all cartoony, complete with being cherry- red in colour.

    Most people wouldn’t take it seriously and that would be their downfall.

    And of course, once things had been made clear, no charges were laid. seems like as amusing as this is, they handled it’s pretty rationally.

  27. The Terrorist State Motto:
    In God we trust, all others we monitor.

    When a nation adopt a terrorist state, all their people are suspects, including the leaders.

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