Police detonate suspicious toy pony

From the Orlando Sentinel:

A “suspicious” toy pony was blown up after it was found abandoned in the middle of a cul-de-sac near an Orange County elementary school this morning.

The FurReal pony, an expensive, life-like toy, was investigated as a possible explosive device after someone called Orange County deputies to report it. A robot inspected the toy before a pack of explosives was placed near the stuffed animal and detonated.

For some reason Orlando and Cincinnati are mother lodes of wonderful stories.

(Via Cynical-C)



    1. “FEAR will keep the local systems in line.”

      Do not be too proud of this equine terror you have constructed. The ability to embarrass an entire police department is insignificant next to the power of the Tea.

  1. Chalk up another one in the win column for Osama bin Laden. Nine years later, we’re still detonating suspicious toy ponies.

  2. Um.

    Is it just me, or does the tag “FurReal” make this pony sound like some kind of, you know . . .

    * * *
    The lockdown was lifted after the pony was blown up.

    Oh, Brave New World . . .

  3. Some poor kid is probably having a very bad day.

    Reminds me of the aliens in the Fallout 3 addon Mothership Zeta, who were apparently planning to conquer the earth with robotic toy ponies.

  4. That school looks mighty suspicious to me… maybe they shouldn’t take any chances and blow that up as well.

  5. Has anyone EVER left a bomb in a deserted cul-de-sac? I thought the whole point of terrorist explosive devices was to set them off near people, or at least near buildings.

    I can see how stuff like this happens though. We give police departments all this cool anti-terrorism gear and training but they rarely get a chance to use it. Give a guy a hammer and everything starts to look like a nail.

  6. Anyone interested in this story should just refresh the Sentinel’s site every few hours. I live in the city and the paper’s tabloidish aesthetic mixes with the local wildness to make sometimes unbelievable headlines.

  7. “A disturbance like hundreds of little girls suddenly screaming, then… silence.”

    The look on the police picking through the stuffing was priceless. _Really_ gotta be loving their jobs right about then.

  8. In other news, police find a suspicious powder-like substance in the playground sandbox. Thank god for our ever vigilant protectors.

  9. You know what will happen when the kid who brought it to school to show their friends complains? Yup, arrested for bringing a ‘suspicious device’ to school. Typical cop move when they get caught doing something stupid/illegal.

  10. If you’re going to lay blame, lay it on the “concerned citizen” who called the police to report the deadly horse in the first place. Don’t people think for themselves anymore?

  11. Has anyone seen my prized Shetland pony? Its brown, white mane, holds perfectly still for long periods of time…

  12. I’m willing to bet that the officers knew full well it was 100% safe, but wanted to blow it up anyway.

    Conversation probably went something like “well we got some detcord and we’re surrounded by video cameras, let’s do it”.

    They’re probably jealous that they don’t live anywhere near the Mythbusters.

  13. On the bright side, I could probably save a few bucks by canceling my garbage pickup service and putting all my trash in suspicious bags.

  14. Just a thought, but what would have happened if it actually *did* have something inside of it – nuclear, biological or chemical?

  15. Okay, I’m not an expert on explosives, but just what kind of explosive would be small enough to fit in that little pony but still cause damage to the school that was that far away? Of course it wasn’t stuffed with explosives!

    It was stuffed with tylenol and transponders.

    1. If it had been filled with explosives, it wouldn’t have been to blow up the school. It would have been to blow up any child or children who were tempted to play with the thing on their way home from school.

      I can understand the concern even if the actions taken were a bit off.

    1. If it happened in Iraq or Afganistan, It’ll be treated as just any other day…and that makes me a sad panda…

  16. They could clearly see that the pony was an Arabian.

    It refused to respond to the officers directions.

    It got what it had coming.

  17. Why does a podunk town like this have a bomb squad, anyway? Have they ever, ever had a bombing?

    The macho paramilitary and incarcerative aspects of “law enforcement” in the USA are grossly overemphasized, while we ignore low-cost, high-payoff opportunities to actually make society safer.

    1. Why does a podunk town like this have a bomb squad, anyway?

      I grew up in a pretty sleepy college town. The last time I remember hearing about the bomb squad detonating a “suspicious package” it turned out to be a bag of pills delivered from the local pharmacy to the front porch of the intended recipient, an elderly woman who had apparently forgotten she’d ordered them.

      I like to think the pills were for treatment of paranoia.

  18. how’d they know it was suspicious, it doesn’t look like you can read its expression at all? sometimes i don’t drink right away from the cup in front of me either! it doesn’t mean i’m suspicious of the contents! oh god please don’t kill me.

  19. It’s been a tough week for little Susie. First her pony was turned into just so much gravy, and now I hear Barbie and Ken have been rendered to a CIA secret prison––they’re probably being water-boarded as we speak.

  20. Comet!! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! D:

    For some reason it wouldn’t have been as funny if it were one of those fugly, cheap, pink giant teddy bears you get from shooting booths at the fair. The fact that it was a *pony*… it really has a je ne sait quoi about it. I mean The lockdown was lifted after the pony was blown up HAS to become a T-shirt or bumper sticker, stats.

  21. So I can shutdown white bread paranoid suburbs across the country just by plopping down a cheapo stuffed animal down on the street? What a great way to paralyze a town.

    I can hear the conversations in the police stations now, “Hey Tom lets use the robot we got with the terrorism money the feds gave us. It’s just been gathering dust for years. We’ll blow stuff up too, this is going to be awesome!”

    1. Exactly, #44. A comment I made a few years ago: “It used to be if you wanted to shut down air travel in the US you needed to do something like fly an airliner or two into a major building. Now all you need to do is scribble some vaguely Arabic-looking words on a few Post-It notes and scatter them around an airport. What an improvement.”

    2. Terrorists don’t really even have to blow anything up anymore. (Recall the last two terrorist “incidents” in the United States to garner major media attention and produce a panicked overreaction: In both cases, the attempted bombing failed.)

      If I were a terrorist, I’d just start leaving dozens of “suspicious packages” all over the place, then sit back and watch the chaos ensue. I’d make sure that the “suspicious packages” themselves were cheap and harmless; and that they looked more-or-less innocuous, but just suspicious enough to trigger the paranoia of the public and the authorities. I guarantee that, if the bomb squad had to be called in to blow up a dozen or more backpacks, suitcases, parcels, crates, tied up bundles of rags, etc. all in the same city and on the same day, the resulting media circus would be a fearmonger’s wet dream.

      It’s a lose-lose situation for the authorities, who are under pressure from the public to take these potential threats seriously, yet end up looking like they’re overreacting when the threats turn out to be false alarms. But it’s a win-win situation for the terrorists, who get to spread fear, force the authorities to waste their resources on wild goose chases, and make the authorities look bad, but without the terrorists ever having to take major risks or incur major costs, and without really making themselves look all that bad (since actually killing people is bad PR).

      But, I don’t think that real terrorists would ever follow this strategy. They’re simply too wedded to their “kill the infidel” mindset to ever consider exploring new methods that don’t have the potential of producing a significant body count.

      1. If I were a terrorist, I’d just start leaving dozens of “suspicious packages” all over the place, then sit back and watch the chaos ensue. [….]
        But, I don’t think that real terrorists would ever follow this strategy.

        Actually, the terrorists are thinking about doing just that.

        1. Very interesting. So, at least some terrorists are smart enough to come up with a good idea. But are the bulk of the terrorists smart enough to recognize it as a good idea and actually carry it through?

          The report you linked to said that the FBI was not aware of any organized effort to actually do this. So, that suggests three possibilities: (a) The terrorists are UNABLE to carry out such an operation (which is good news, since that would imply that they are also unable to carry out more deadly attacks); (b) The terrorists are UNWILLING to carry out such an operation (i.e. they’re too stupid to realize what a good idea it is, or too inflexible to alter their modus operandi); or (c) The FBI doesn’t really have good intel on terrorist plans and operations (which is bad news, for obvious reasons).

        2. Of course they are.

          The havoc caused by false alarms is part of the payback of each and every attack.

          All part of the plan

  22. I am definitely jealous.

    When I was a kid, if I wanted to blow up something cool, like my GI Joes, I had to dig into my very valuable stash of fireworks, empty a few out, and build my own demo pack.

    Kids these days are so spoiled – now the Fatherland Security forces will come out and blow it up for you.

  23. I didn’t hear it mentioned in the clip, but did they bother looking for the child that belongs to that toy?

    The thought process here should have been:

    1) Toy left in a park right next to an elementary school.

    2) Go into the office and request that the VP or whoever makes an announcement that a large plush pony was left in the park and the owner should come to the office to retrieve it.

    3) Child shows up, everyone feels good we can go home without blowing it up in the street.

    I see crazy people rigging up a toy to explode with an Improvised Explosive Device.

    Now imagine if you will watching this on the news live, then going from local news to the world news. There you get to see the same thing being done by yet more crazy people.

    Now what are people to think in a situation like that. Inside America roadside bombs are Good, but outside of America its evil?

    This whole debacle sends a negative message to everyone everywhere. It shouldn’t have been a news story, and it shouldn’t have been made a public spectacle by the police or the media like it was.

  24. May the good lord take a likin’ to ya and blow you p REAL GOOD.

    Here’s hoping some nutball run church doesn’t threaten to burn the pony’s instruction manual as protest.

  25. I don’t know much about explosives, but isn’t the general point of a bomb squad to make sure something doesn’t blow up?

    I mean if this thing did happen to be a chemical weapon or IED of some sort, wouldn’t detonating it be quite the wrong thing to do?

  26. Here’s a scenario: terrorist would put a bioweapon in a safe container inside something suspicious-looking and rely on the bomb squad for its dispersion.

  27. Meanwhile, real terrorists in Northern Ireland plant a pipe bomb in a school playground, which is picked up by an 8 year old boy: Google News.
    (There’ve been two others this week — one outside a health centre, and one outside a police station.)

  28. You just never know, anything could be a bomb. As evidenced in this very thread, two people with the same idea submit with-in a minute of each other. See, this could be a bomb, it is mighty suspicious…

    gabrielm • #7 • 10:56 AM Thursday, Sep 9, 2010 • Reply

    Better safe then sorry. For all they knew, it could have been full of Greeks!

    Paul Coleman • #9 • 10:57 AM Thursday, Sep 9, 2010 • Reply

    In other news, some Greeks reportedly on their way to Troy haven’t been seen for days.

    ..a conspiracy disguised as a Trojan Horse metaphor. A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma…

    Can we stop this ride? I want off.

  29. “A robot inspected the toy before a pack of explosives was placed near the stuffed animal and detonated.”

    So the robot can’t tell mass? As in there’s probably a VERY GOOD CHANCE there’s no explosive in that stuff animal since it’s so light weight and responses like a regular stuff animal.

    As in with the amount of experience dealing with explosives, the robot operator can’t tell the difference between a stuff animal and a stuff animal packed with explosives?

    You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you. God damn you all to hell!

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