The Seattle Police Department’s Arson/Bomb Squad (ABS) has examined a half-dozen suspicious packages since Monday’s explosions at the end of the Boston Marathon, police said.
Seattle police haven’t received any information about threats in the city, ABS Sgt. Jim Hansen said in a news release. ”When there’s a major event around the country, people become more vigilant,” he said.
The calls have all turned out to be false alarms, such as the call Tuesday morning when a police officer discovered an unattended backpack at Third Avenue and Yesler Way. Police spokeswoman Renee Witt said an officer and the bomb-sniffing dog were on a patrol that was ordered in the wake of Monday’s explosions when they spotted the suspicious backpack.
However, one of the recent suspicious-package calls has prompted a police investigation.
Around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, neighbors spotted a man dressed in a dark-colored hoody walking down a street near Ballard Corners Park, at Northwest 62nd Street and 17th Avenue Northwest, collecting items from trash cans. Neighbors saw the man “dancing and talking to himself” as he walked into the park, where he began assembling a suspicious-looking item made of several pieces of metal sheeting, tent poles, wires and tape, police said.
The neighbors called 911 after the man left the metal item on a park bench and walked off.
ABS detectives determined the items didn’t actually contain any explosives, but was likely built to resemble an explosive device, police said.
The man who assembled the odd item could face felony charges, such as malicious placement of a hoax device, a Class C felony in Washington that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.