Saturday, August 23, 2003

Abandoned box put cops on terror alert



By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON - Butler County authorities swarmed to investigate a possible explosive device. They blocked off the area, evacuated nearby government offices and cautiously removed the suspicious package.

Then the serious situation turned seriously funny.

The sheriff's bomb squad looked inside the small white box - and found something that would make only their waistlines explode: a powdered doughnut and two other pastries.

"The only thing that was missing was a good hot cup of coffee," said sheriff's Maj. Anthony Dwyer.A week later, police were still wondering what happened to the evidence.

"Some people were saying the sheriff's department blew them up - and that would have been a policeman's worst nightmare!" said Hamilton police Sgt. Thomas E. Kilgour.

Kidding aside, Dwyer said the Aug. 12 incident is a testimonial to the post-Sept. 11 era.

"Ten years ago, things were generally handled a little bit differently," he said. But now packages left in or near government offices raise alarms; the box left outside the Government Services Center bore a "Volvo Rents - Construction Equipment" sticker, which seemed odd.

But a still-visible blue Busken bakery logo offered a pretty good clue about what might be inside, Dwyer acknowledged. Besides, an X-ray examination showed no wires or other sign of explosives, so officers were fairly confident that the package was harmless, Dwyer said.

"If nothing else, the Great Doughnut Caper of this year will go down as a great training exercise," he said.

E-mail jmorse@enquirer.com




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