Teen arrested for Safeway bomb threat
August 4, 2004
Truckee Police arrested a local 17-year-old male in connection with a bomb threat that prompted the evacuation of Safeway for eight hours on Tuesday night and mobilized town police, the California Highway Patrol and the Placer County Sheriff’s bomb squad.The suspect, who the police located with help from witnesses who allegedly overheard his phone conversation, was cited and released to his parents, according to police.
Safeway Assistant Manager Steve McCann decided to evacuate the store at approximately 6 p.m. Tuesday after an anonymous caller said there was a bomb in the seafood department. McCann, who inspected the department, found an out-of-place package that led him to call for the evacuation. There were 25 to 30 employees in the store and about 60 customers who had to evacuate.”The package just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” McCann said. “The way that it was wrapped just seemed suspicious to me.”
A K-9 unit, an X-ray specialist and a remote-controlled robot were all part of the effort to locate and extract the package that was determined later to be three salmon fillets from Safeway, McCann said. X-ray analysis on the package was inconclusive, leading to the involvement of the robot, Truckee police Detective Bob Womack said. A dog, trained to sniff explosives, repeatedly identified the area around the package. The patrolman that handles the dog, CHP Officer Colin Patrick, said that the salmon was the only farm-raised fish in the department and that chemicals designed to kill parasites in the fish, or nearby cleaning supplies, could have alerted the dog.
The on-site investigation ended around 1 a.m. and Safeway, which operates 24-hours a day, re-opened about an hour afterwards.Police said that the total expense for the evacuation of employees and the loss of business may exceed $25,000. The person who made the threat could be responsible for paying back that money.Police officials said that other juveniles may have been involved in the threat, and further citations or arrests could be made.