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Bomb threat closes several Berkeley streets Wednesday

Several streets, including Le Roy and Le Conte avenues were blocked during a suspected bomb threat on Wednesday May 2 in Berkeley

Police blocked several streets and prevented people getting into their homes Wednesday night on the north side of the UC Berkeley campus after a man reported hearing a ticking in his van and said he was concerned about a possible bomb.

The 20-year-old man called the Berkeley police at 7:36 pm to report a ticking sound in his van which was parked, unlocked, near Le Roy and Le Conte avenues. The man, who lives in the 2500 block of Le Conte Avenue, said he had recently fired an employee and the employee had made some threats.

Due to the circumstances, the BPD Watch Commander directed that the area be cordoned off for safety and activated the BPD EOD (Explosive Ordinance Device) to respond, according to the Berkeley Police. The Watch Commander also directed personnel to activate the Berkeley Emergency Notification System (BENS), to advise community members of the possible explosive device and to remain in their homes. BPD officers evacuated community members from homes adjacent to the van.

The bomb squad did not find any explosive device and concluded that the sound was likely coming from a battery-operated part of the specialized van that was losing power.

Parts of Euclid Avenue, Ridge Road, La Loma, Le Roy and Le Conte avenues were blocked and several residents were told they could not return to their homes. The neighborhood was impacted for around five hours, in part, the police said, because bomb squad members are called in from home, and also because of the precautions that such an operation entail. BPD completed the investigation and resolved the incident at approximately 1:30 a.m.

No public buildings were evacuated during the incident.

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  • Anonymous

    What a jackass…the last time a bomb was made using a mechanical clock was in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

  • Heather_W_62

    That is the dumbest thing I’ve read in a long time. He heard ticking in his car and his first thought was that there was a bomb, but oops! it was something wrong with his car. Who’d a thunk?

  • Guest

    I wonder who’s footing the bill for this foolishness.

  • Heather_W_62

    I didn’t even want to go there, Guest, but that is valid; how much did it cost to take all those safety measures and use the bomb device, etcetera? Perhaps Mr. Hysterical should be billed for a portion of that.

  • onesmallhand

    It really isn’t up to the neighbor to make the determination of what the cause of the suspicious sound was – that is the job of the police. I hardly think we should fault the guy for being careful, and it sounds as if there was enough evidence for BPD for them to believe they needed to treat it seriously. To me this is like going to the doctor because you have a rash – you might tell the doctor you think it poison ivy, etc, but the doctor will hopefully have enough experience and knowledge to know how to assess it properly.

  • Anonymous

    Of course you can fault him, it’s a ridiculous conclusion to draw. It’s the equivalent of me calling 911 and reporting a rapist at my house when someone knocks on the door. Sure, there’s a non-zero probability that the person is a rapist.

    Society is really going to have to figure a more nuanced and sophisticated reactions to things like bomb threats or what’s happened at the Univ. of Pittsburgh the last couple of months (http://abcnews.go.com/US/university-pittsburgh-alum-arrested-bomb-threats-continue/story?id=16124373#.T4c4HydYvPc and http://it.slashdot.org/story/12/04/12/2055240/university-of-pittsburgh-deluged-with-internet-bomb-threats for an
    interesting discussion) is only going to become more common.

  • Heather_W_62

    It seems a stretch to go from a ticking noise in the car to it’s a bomb. Of course, I don’t have the background on the disgruntled employee, though.

  • Ann O. Nymous

    That’s what happens when you give 20-year-old “men” managerial positions!
    The news didn’t bother to mention the numerous intelligent Berkeley students who were displaced with very few resources during the week before finals.
    I suggest that this guy be drug tested, enroll in community college, and purchase a AAA membership.

  • Think Twice

    He should’ve thought twice then before pissing someone off. Now there’s a bomb waiting for him at every corner.

  • iicisco

    It’s been awhile since Berkeley has had a Bomb Threat. What a waste of resources.

  • Heather_W_62

    So guy turns on car and there’s a ticking noise. I’d bet it went away when he turned the car off. That would be good enough reason to believe the car had a problem, not a bomb. For heaven’s sake, what a waste of resources for something so incredibly simple to figure out.

  • Heather_W_62

    Exactly.