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‘Better to Err on the Side of Caution’ Says Richland Police After False Bomb Scare Near Kadlec

Captain Mike Cobb of the Richland Police Department said Monday afternoon’s bomb threat near Kadlec hospital was a briefcase full of tools for repairing a copy machine. The case of tools would likely have been overlooked if not for the tragic events in Boston earlier that day, Cobb said. In the end, that proved a good thing because a heightened sense of alert is better for public safety, he said.

While actual details are unknown, the likeliest explanation for yesterday’s bomb scare is a copy machine technician left his tools in the parking lot. Another person likely saw the case, was concerned it would be run over, and moved it to the edge of the lot, Cobb said. Unfortunately, that happened to be next to a large electrical transformer at 945 Goethals — a building used by physicians and part of the larger Kadlec campus, but not connected to the hospital.

Because the tools obscured the case’s content when X-rayed, the bomb squad decided to “disrupt” the box with a powerful water gun. Media reports of a detonation were incorrect, Cobb clarified. The water gun shoots a plug of water at high enough pressure to penetrate a casing and “disrupt” the contents of a mysterious package.

In the end, the bomb scare was a false alarm, and police would probably never been called had it not been for the terrorist attack in Boston earlier that day. But the incident was not a waste of time or resources, Cobb insisted.

“What we do is designed to bring the unknown in the realm of the known… it’s best to err on the side of caution,” he said.

Mysterious events that would not warrant calling a bomb squad 20 years ago should now be treated with more security, he added.

“We’re reminded of that every time there’s a significant event.”

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