Pipe bomb threat cleared; one person arrested - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Pipe bomb threat cleared; one person arrested

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Photo courtesy Scott Kavieff Photo courtesy Scott Kavieff

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A transient's offhand claim Tuesday that there was a pipe bomb in a sack full of odds and ends he'd carried into a downtown park prompted evacuations at several nearby buildings, including nearby Edward J. Schwartz U.S. Courthouse.

A guard who works at the federal courts complex in the 900 block of Front Street came across the homeless man and his bags of possessions in an adjacent open grassy area shortly before 10 a.m. and asked him to move on, said Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

The drifter, who didn't want to leave, casually mentioned that he supposedly had an explosive device among his things. The comment did not come across as a threat, Luque said.

Authorities cleared people out of a nearby restaurant and some offices, and directed employees in parts of the courthouse facing the park to move to other sections of the building while a bomb squad investigated.

An ordinance technician in body armor took X-ray photos of the transient's bags, finding a roughly 18-inch tube inside one of them. Though it had something resembling a fuse attached to one end, the cylinder was empty.

Emergency crews gave an all-clear about 11:15 a.m., Luque said.

Due to his behavior while interacting with authorities, the homeless man was taken to a county psychiatric hospital for an evaluation of his mental state. 

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