News


Police detonate suspicious package in Palo Alto

Suspected acid bomb was actually a device used in narcotics production, police say

A suspicious device found on a residential lawn in Palo Alto Friday, Aug. 17, was at first suspected of being an acid bomb by a Santa Clara County Bomb Squad investigator.

But after it was detonated, the device was determined to have been an object used to produce narcotics, Palo Alto police Agent Marianna Villaescusa said.

A resident in the 700 block of Maplewood Avenue called police at about 2:47 p.m. He had discovered a 12-ounce plastic soda bottle wrapped in gauzy fabric with metal clamps around it. He shook the bottle and felt what he thought was a liquid inside, Villaescusa said.

The property is near Sutherland Drive in Charleston Gardens. The neighborhood is bounded by Middlefield and East Charleston and San Antonio roads.

Palo Alto police called in the fire department and then alerted the Santa Clara County bomb squad. Officers barricaded the street and issued a shelter-in-place order for 17 residences, including the affected property. Seventy homes received AlertSCC phone messages with information about the incident.

Linda Dinneny, whose son lives at the address where the suspected bomb was found, said she noticed it Thursday afternoon on the lawn near the driveway.

"I thought, 'Wow, that's interesting. It had a teeny hole in the middle,'" she said.

Dinneny said she thought perhaps the device was made by a youth. She sniffed it and did not notice anything inside, she said.

Sutherland Drive resident Pete Squire said he received two calls through the alert system advising him to remain indoors.

"It could be an old science project," he guessed.

But police sent photos to the bomb squad. Bomb Squad Sgt. Davis initially believed it to be an acid bomb, Villaescusa said. A robot was sent into the area to investigate, and for nearly six hours residents were not permitted to enter or exit their homes.

An investigator in a padded bomb-protection suit gingerly approached the device and X-rayed it.

Investigators determined the device was not an acid bomb, but they were still concerned about what it might contain, Villaescusa said.

They brought in a device similar to an air rifle, pointed it at the bottle and exploded the bottle at about 7:20 p.m.

Bomb technicians and fire personnel then approached the remnant pieces of plastic.

Villaescusa said the device was inert, but it was used to produce illegal narcotics.

"This investigation has turned from a bomb investigation to a narcotics investigation," she said.

Police want to know why such equipment was in the neighborhood and how it got there. They will be working to determine if the drugs are being produced in the neighborhood, she said.

Villaescusa said although the device was not a bomb, it is still something used for an illegal purpose.

"It is an example of why it is important not to pick something up," she said.

People should never try to second guess what a suspicious object might be. They should always leave the determination to police and safety officials and seek to help their neighbors to be safe, she said.

Police opened the street at about 7:45 p.m. and planned to do a neighborhood check to see if anyone had noticed anything suspicious.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Palo Alto Police Department at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984.

An at-the-scene report as the incident unfolded can be found on Twitter.

Comments

Posted by Hank, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Is this why there has been a helicopter circling Cuberley all afternoon?


Posted by JW, a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 17, 2012 at 5:29 pm

@Hank - yes, but I dont really understand why. Robots and bomb squad yes, but helicopters?


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Most likely a news helicopter looking for video footage.


Posted by Seb, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 17, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Hmmm. an old soda bottle with a liquid inside - sounds like nitroglycerine to me.


Posted by LAWL, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Nitroglycerine? Are you serious? You are such an alarmist. It is clearly not any form or precursor to TNT. Watch Fox news much?

It's shake and bake meth. Web Link

Some tweaker got lazy and tossed the bottle out while making it and driving late at night. Now our tax dollars are hard at work figuring out how to put trash in the trash can.

Mystery solved.


Posted by Arlen Young, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 17, 2012 at 6:02 pm

The helicopters appear to be Channels 2 and 7 news.


Posted by GM Mama, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 17, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Can't anyone make these noisy helicopters go away? They have been going around in circles for hours. Every time they circle near Greenmeadow, my entire house rattles. Surely they must be violating some nuisance regulation or other. Think of the waste of fuel. This is making me feel grouchy.


Posted by Beatrice, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 17, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Yes, this is a bit too much. I understand the investigation but 2 helicopters....
Will see....
Forces are deployed!...


Posted by mjrichmond, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 17, 2012 at 6:13 pm

mjrichmond is a registered user.

I agree. Helicopter noise making me nervous. Ooooo, sweet silence. Maybe the emergency is over. I'm happy channel 2 was here, but I'm happier now that they are gone!


Posted by GM Mama, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 17, 2012 at 6:19 pm

The helicopters left! Silence prevails -- how sweet it is!


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Much ado about so very little - I'm so sorry you all had to endure such noise & rattling. It's likely shake & bake meth, as someone else mentioned. If someone didn't pee in a bottle that is.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 17, 2012 at 6:36 pm

They're back and it's getting ridiculous. It's been almost 4 hours. You'd think that if there was a story to film it would have occurred already. These helicopters seem particularly obnoxious; they must be flying very low. Go away already.


Posted by I'm trying not to laugh, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 17, 2012 at 6:37 pm

I think Agent Marianna Villaescusa needs to take a deep breath and relax. It's a soda bottle! Even if it were filled with, I don't know, anthrax (I'm totally making this up), there's no need for this "shelter in place" order. How far could it spread? I live on Sutherland and the only thing I'm worrying about is one of those news choppers crashing on my roof.

And I'd appreciate it if the author of this "breaking news" story used a little less jargon. I didn't know what a "shelter in place" meant. (I was thinking we had to put up a tent in our living room or something.) I had to Google "shelter in place" to figure out what was required of us. The Weekly uses a lot of jargon like this. Dave Price had a funny column a couple of months ago about all this silly words the government uses. If Marianna Villaescusa wants us to stay in our houses due to a soda bottle, she should say so. "Stay inside" is simpler and clearer than "shelter in place."


Posted by Marta, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 17, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Helicopters still here - 6:26 p.m.
I wish this were no-fly zone.


Posted by jd, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 17, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Agree with everybody here about the helicopters. it is completely unnecessary, a total waste of resources, and driving everybody in the area mad with the noise. News helicopters are completely unnecessary. Palo Alto needs a law that bans them except for emergency use (police and medical), as obviously the media doesn't have any good sense to figue out when they are appropriate. It's high time we start putting a price on everyone's right to quiet.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 17, 2012 at 6:43 pm

But the public's right to know trumps your right to quiet! Cynical but true. I'd invite you all over to this surprisingly more serene neighborhood, but um, you all have to shelter in place. Buh-bye Fri eve plans - what a bummer!


Posted by mjrichmond, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 17, 2012 at 6:45 pm

mjrichmond is a registered user.

It was kinda fun watching our neighborhood on TV a bit ago. I just wish if they were going to stay up there, they would let me watch the live video feed. :)


Posted by You gotta be kidding, a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 17, 2012 at 9:14 pm

I bet the police will never let us know what was really in that soda bottle because the outcome would be too embarrassing. Police, Fire, Bomb Squad, helicopters, shelter-in-place? What was the cost of that fiasco and how talented are our public safety officers anyway in dealing with something so insignificant? I bet some poor sap used the soda bottle to spit out his chew and threw it out an open window. Let's see, someone picked up the soda bottle and smelt it a day ago. I assume that person is still alive. Gee, someone even shook the bottle and it did not explode. Humm, but call in the boys and girls in Blue, and they have to blow it up. Senseless!


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 17, 2012 at 10:09 pm

They determine the significance through a cautious and thorough investigation Ya Gotta. Many experienced people with extensive and specialized training determine what the approach and protocol should be. Let's just say that I trust their opinion over the average person, unless you can further enlighten us with your expertise on explosives. Another example of the least knowledgeable being the biggest critic. And by the way, those were news helicopters just to set your mind further at ease.


Posted by Are you kidding?, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 17, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Our finest at work protecting us from soda bottles that have already been sniffed by someone's mom!!!
I hope there's an investigation as to why this escalated to absurdity.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 17, 2012 at 11:37 pm

The only absurdity is criticizing and dismissing a matter that I would venture to say that you know little or nothing about. Like I said, the least knowledgeable are often time the biggest critics. Laughable.


Posted by Jim , a resident of Professorville
on Aug 18, 2012 at 1:29 am

Great job PAPD! Would be curious if this was methamphetamine being produced


Posted by LAWL, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 18, 2012 at 2:13 am

@Jim: I realize this probably doesn't bother you at all since you are a resident of the most expensive part of town and likely flushed with cash. For the rest of us however, it is disturbing that so many resources were utilized to dispense a container that produced, at most, about 200 milligrams of low quality meth. One latex glove would have done the trick. Not everyone can throw money at problems.

@Phil: You should take your own advice. You're are speaking rather adamantly about an event that didn't take place in your neighborhood. "Many experienced people with extensive and specialized training determine what the approach and protocol should be" You'd think that the extensive and specialized training would cover the most basic of drug paraphernalia. Sounds like really crappy training if your entire police force doesn't know what single-receptacle meth fabrication looks like.
" Let's just say that I trust their opinion over the average person, unless you can further enlighten us with your expertise on explosives. Another example of the least knowledgeable being the biggest critic." If you paid attention in high school chemistry class, you would have known too. It doesn't take an explosives expert to deduce the object is harmless when you arrive on the scene. This bottle is cast aside haphazardly on a front lawn, a person inspected it, shook it, smelled it, and it did not react in any way. That eliminates 99% likelihood that it is harmful. The last percent is checked by maintaining tabs on the vital signs of the person who picked it up. Vitals are fine? Good, it's not sarin. Hazmat check done!
"And by the way, those were news helicopters just to set your mind further at ease." They were there because they responded to an overreaction of police vehicles and the words "bomb squad" on the scanners. Normal reaction=no helicopters.

What a glorious demonstration of ineptitude on PAPD's part. Goes along seamlessly with the plebian mediocrity the rest of you champion.


Posted by Mark, a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2012 at 2:46 am

"Dinneny said she thought perhaps the device was made by a youth. She sniffed it and did not notice anything inside, she said."

Dear god...do people routinely sniff bottles containing unknown liquid? I mean seriously, what happens if it turned out to be a bottle of excrement?


Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 18, 2012 at 6:30 am

Seems like someone was really influenced by Breaking Bad.


Posted by Kate, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 18, 2012 at 7:19 am

Great job PAPD!!!! I think people don't give the police and fire department enough credit! They did a great job today!


Posted by Another-Day-Another-Example-of-Big-Government-In-Action, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2012 at 7:22 am

> what happens if it turned out to be a bottle of excrement?

Well .. you'll probably realize that the bottle is not a bomb, throw it in the refuse bin, and not call the police.

This whole exercise reeks of a lack of expertise on the part of the local police. Wonder what a bomb-sniffing dog would have made of the situation? Or a narcotics-sniffing dog?


Posted by Student, a resident of JLS Middle School
on Aug 18, 2012 at 7:56 am

SO..... it was a false alarm, goood, my friend can go back to his house now. :)


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2012 at 8:23 am

So much seems wrong with this story.

Who, why, what, when, questions abound.

If it had been on my lawn and I found it, I expect I would have just picked it up and put it in the trash with a resigned thought about people who litter. If someone had picked it up and decided it was harmless, why was it left there and not removed? It sounds like a minor prank gone overboard or deliberate police timewasting.

Seriously a shelter in place situation? How many kids could not get home from school? How many important meetings, plane flights, etc. were disrupted because of this?

Are we seriously that much at risk from a piece of empty trash?


Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 18, 2012 at 8:39 am

A bottle of Jolt Cola would have been more powerful.


Posted by C'mon, a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2012 at 9:22 am

Y'all should be glad you have a thorough police force. If they weren't and something happened, I can just hear all of the howls about how PA cops bumbled. And it was the County bomb squad that decided the package was potentially dangerous. Meth is apparently made with dangerous chemicals. A friend had to evacuate his home once when cops found a lab down the street.


Posted by Observer, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 18, 2012 at 9:53 am

@Trying not to laugh: Really? You don't know what a shelter in place is? It is a specific order in emergencies that police use commonly and it is reported in the news all of the time.

By the way, I didn't see Dave Price out there while some of the other news organizations were there until the end. Thank you Palo Alto Weekly for keeping the community informed through the hours it took to resolve this concern.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 18, 2012 at 10:00 am

LAWL, and you would no doubt be howling from the rafters if police had downplayed or been dismissive over this event and someone had actually been injured. Your cries of ineptitude would be centered on how they should have used more precaution, called in the specialist team to inspect the suspicious container, and the list goes on. Biased, sniping, uninformed, and no matter what the outcome, unless it's a very positive one of course, poised to criticize and condemn. Like I said, I'll leave these duties up to the experts and let them do their job, one that is unlikely that you possess either the qualification or fortitude to consider yourself. Pathetic.


Posted by JW, a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 18, 2012 at 10:48 am

They're wondering how the drugs got to Palo Alto?!

There are drugs in Palo Alto.

There are drugs in every city. They just have to make a big deal of this so that they don't look AS ridiculous for thinking it was a bomb.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 18, 2012 at 10:59 am

Unfortunately for the police JW, potentially dangerous or suspicious circumstances don't come with a warning label or sign that tells them definitively what they're dealing with. That's accomplished through taking the necessary precautions, investigation, and utilizing the proper resources and expertise. That's how people keep from getting hurt. It's called reality, and not what you seen on TV or in the movies.


Posted by Bobby, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2012 at 11:02 am

> You don't know what a shelter in place is?

Bet it's the first time most people have heard of this "order".

> It is a specific order in emergencies that police
> use commonly and it is reported in the news all of the time.

Really? How many times has the Palo Alto Police issued this order in the last ten years? Googling for "shelter in place" reveals a goodly number of references to this term from government web-sites, but few evidences of its being used. The recent fire at the Richmond Refinery did cause a "shelter in place" warning to be issued, however.

If one spent any time researching the number of times this sort of warning is issued, one would probably find that it is rarely issued--because there are so few instances of emergencies where it is relevant. Communities where there is harsh weather might be worth looking into, although it's not all that uncommon for emergency weather advisories to direct residents to evacuate from areas near the water, as opposed to "shelter in place".


Posted by Tax payer Pat, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 18, 2012 at 11:18 am

Good job PAPD. Better safe than sorry. Whine away weannies. We would really be listening to an earful had the bottle contained a real hazardous material.


Posted by Concerned, a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2012 at 11:59 am

There are some harsh comments about wasting time, lack of training and even how ridiculous it was to think it was a bomb. If its so ridiculous, then why did the residents of Palo Alto call the police? If it was just a simple piece of trash... or shake and bake meth or even an acid bomb then the cops would have been able work faster. The problem is that it wasn't any of those. When the community calls the police and reports a problem (like a suspicious item) would we rather they investigate or just have the people take care of it themselves? Just because "some lady" picked it up and shook it, does that mean its safe? Maybe we should all line up at the next suspicious package call, as good educated citizens, and take turns shaking the package to determine how "safe" it is. Maybe someone who "paid attention in HIgh School Chemistry" should go open the bottle? Do us all a favor and quit complaining that someone cares about OUR safety. If this happened in any other city no one would complain. Maybe LAWL should volunteer on the local Bomb Squad as the "Bomb Monkey" LAWL can be responsible for shaking, and poking and sniffing suspicious packages (very scientifically) to determine their safety! =) Yea for progress!


Posted by Bobby, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2012 at 12:01 pm

> potentially dangerous or suspicious circumstances
> don't come with a warning label or sign

It's a shame that Downtown Phil does not stop to think before he begins to opine on these topics involving the police. Toxic (and potentially dangerous) materials are transported in containers that have symbols and strong language warning people to "Stay Away". Look for these symbols on cans, canisters and tanks of toxic, or radioactive, materials that are transported every day on our highways, and railroads. You can also see these signs/language in the supermarkets where potentially dangerous household chemicals are sold.

As to "suspicious circumstances"—these days, virtually every conceivable mechanism for transporting dangers/toxic/lethal materials has been used by terrorists, and lunatics—even the US mails. So, given that even a letter in your box can contain explosive (letter bomb), or deadly anthrax, what in the world isn't "suspicious" anymore? Some really malicious bozos have contaminated on-the-shelf medicines, and other innocuous products—for no sane reason. To this extent, it's true that an anthrax-laden letter is not likely to have a waning sign on it. It's unlikely the police will respond to calls if every oversized letter is reported. Which kind of makes modern-day life more difficult than it used to be.

Sadly, this incident's response will likely be the source of copy-cat incidents—instigated by people who like to see the police jump through hoops.


Posted by LAWL, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 18, 2012 at 12:40 pm

@Hulkmania: you win, sir.
@Concerned: " The problem is that it wasn't any of those. " Actually it was. You're right, I don't care about YOUR safety. You specifically.
@Pat: Let's see how funny this is when it happens a million times in the coming months when teenagers think it's funny to watch the cops puff their chest out over garbage.
@Phil: No, I wouldn't have been on here if it had been something dangerous. Because something malicious and dangerous placed by any decent criminal would never EVER have been noticed by PAPD. And I can't blame them for not being psychic. That's some top-notch assuming though. You should probably stop posting. Your posts are one level beyond worthless. I bring substance, you bring vitriol.
@PAPD:I'm so disgusted by the massive waste of money I witnessed on Friday. Here's my advice: fire Marianna Villaescusa, pass out pamphlets that depict basic drug paraphernalia to your rookies, and learn about the crimes you seek to prevent. Allow me to elucidate a few things.
-Tweakers shake and bake in cars because the fumes emitted might attract attention if they did it in a closed space.
-They usually do so on isolated roads or at night so they are less likely to be seen. (you'll find many of these bottles by isolated roads)
-Tweakers are industrious, determined creatures that will drive out of their way to cover their real location or acquire reagents. (definitely not a neighborhood problem)
-Shake and bake utilizes incredibly specific items in its recipe. Track those instead of a discarded bottle.(lithium battery strips, sudafed pills, etc... google it)
-Shake and bake meth producers are usually destitute individuals who have limited finances. This is not a big meth dealer bust you are looking at. This is some amateur tweaker with no connections to a mass produced meth source. Shake and bake is NOT cost effective. You go through a lot of cash and trouble for a very small amount of meth. It's ideal for someone who has an internet connection and is too socially inept to get a real dealer.
-Shake and bake is risky business. It's a matter of precise, clinical measurements made in a moving car. Doesn't always end well. There have been accidents but that is mostly due to human error. Not everybody can be smart and nimble. Some of us have to be dust between the wall and the fridge.

Your biggest problem is treating a symptom instead of a cause. Preventing drug use trumps punishing drug use. Give these people a reason to live, to wake up in the morning. Give them a higher power. Restore the love they once had for themselves. Spend money on support programs and early childhood education; NOT robots, bomb squads, and helicopter fuel.

Make an effort to understand. It will make your jobs easier.


Posted by Concerned, a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm

LAWL the only person that said this item was meth is you. And you really don't know anything about drug culture. You even said it yourself, these people are destitute. What do you think? You think they get in their CAR and go on a country drive to make meth? What part of destitute did you miss? They make it where-ever they can and they smoke it where-ever they can. There is no planning, or organizing. They can't cover their tracks or hide their location, thats part of being an addict. And it doesn't seem like you have been arrested for narcotics lately either. Maybe you should look into Prop 36 or Deferred Entry Judgment. Take a REAL look at what happens when people are arrested for dope. Instead of complaining so much, maybe you could volunteer at some organizations who helps people addicted to drugs. It's better then being the "Bomb Monkey" or just some ignorant mouth-piece shooting from the hip. Maybe YOU should make an effort to understand the world outside of what you THINK you know, it might make your life easier.


Posted by LAWL, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 18, 2012 at 2:49 pm

>And it doesn't seem like you have been arrested for narcotics lately either.
Sobriety is pretty cool, you should try it.

>LAWL the only person that said this item was meth is you.

I said it was shake and bake meth before this website said it was even drug related. I posted this was drug related when they were saying it was a science project. And someone else agreed with me actually. Also, I'm 100% right on this. Deal with it.

>You think they get in their CAR and go on a country drive to make meth?

Yes. You're thinking of crack-heads.

>There is no planning, or organizing

You obviously know nothing of what meth is. It stimulates the prefrontal cortex which is charge of planning and organizing. Tweakers tend to concoct obscenely intricate plans and theories for the dumbest (often delusional) reasons. Planning and organizing is meth culture.

>They can't cover their tracks or hide their location, thats part of being an addict.

Actually that's the biggest part of being an addict. Covering your tracks and hiding your drug abuse is like your main priority.

> Instead of complaining so much, maybe you could volunteer at some organizations who helps people addicted to drugs.

I do?

> It's better then being the "Bomb Monkey" or just some ignorant mouth-piece shooting from the hip.

Like you?

Do you have a relative in the police force or are you in the police force? You sure seem pretty butt-hurt about me being right from the get go.

People don't throw acid bombs on front lawns in Afghanistan (they hand deliver them, lol). Why would you ever think that could happen in some middle-class neighborhood in palo alto?

As for whether it's meth or not...are you really trying to go up against me on this? Do you really want to feel that shame-based anger when they say it was indeed meth? I'm pretty sure they didn't know it was drug related until someone said "hey this kid online said it's speed".

You don't know addiction. So stop talking.


Posted by Concerned, a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Actually, I work with drug addicts every day. I have qualified in court on behalf of DEFENSE attorneys AND prosecutors. I regularly go on home visits to drug addicts homes, if they have one, and help them with their problems. I have watched dozens of drug addicts destroy their lives and ravage the community. I work as a contractor and most of my clients are referrals from drug court but I am still private. Don't think because you live in the affluent community of Palo Alto and "Googled" shake and bake, or watched a 60 minutes episode that you are an expert. Anyone in my field knows that addicts REALLY can't hide. Even someone as uneducated as you could spot most addicts. Yes drug addicts plan "obscenely intricate plans" hence the true inability to hide their addition. I will admit, there is a "sweet spot" where meth could generate an overly organized person, but thats not the way it works. Like you said, its usually just an obscene mess of delusional thinking (usually apparent to everyone but the addict).

And It''s not that I don't think the item is drug related, because they did say it was, I just don't believe it was shake and bake meth. And even it was, that's still volatile and should be treated with respect. Further more, I'm not butt-hurt about your opinion. As an educator, I just don't like to see ignorant opinions spread without any discussion. You are entitled to your ignorance.

You can try to pick apart every word we write, I think most people are happy the PD is looking out for us. And if you "Google" acid bombs in Palo Alto you'll see there has been a few of them (even reported in this very website) So it's not really THAT unreasonable. Anyway, good luck to you and your's LAWL. I hope you can take some of your energy and focus on something positive.


Posted by LAWL, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm

>You are entitled to your ignorance.

And you to yours.

You talk a lot from an advocate standpoint but you clearly don't have any personal experience with it.

> Don't think because you live in the affluent community of Palo Alto and "Googled" shake and bake, or watched a 60 minutes episode that you are an expert.

Never said I was an expert, but with 3 years of shooting meth and laughing at casual smokers under my belt I think I know how the game is played. I go to meetings everyday, call my sponsor everyday, and my life is recovery. I just celebrated a year, so I'm pretty sure my memory is not that skewed.

>Actually, I work with drug addicts every day.

That doesn't mean you know anything.

>Even someone as uneducated as you could spot most addicts.

Are you saying I'll be able to spot all of them once I'm through grad school?

> I will admit, there is a "sweet spot" where meth could generate an overly organized person, but thats not the way it works.

That's how it worked for me. Clearly you need to re-evaluate your job.

>You can try to pick apart every word we write, I think most people are happy the PD is looking out for us

It's not that hard to do. You leave yourself open to it.

>Further more, I'm not butt-hurt about your opinion.

You are though. This is the most effective trolling I've done in years.

>Anyway, good luck to you and your's LAWL. I hope you can take some of your energy and focus on something positive.

Yeah, because taking an interest in my community is not positive. I should take your advice and go back to looking out for me only. We know how much good that does. Nobody be of service, ever again.

>As an educator

No. Just no. Because that is MY field, I can't allow you to drag it through the mud by associating yourself with education. Guidance and discipline are different things. This world is more hopeless than I thought if rigid, unaware commoners like you can carry the banner of education.

Creative Project: make a youtube video called "bored in palo alto", wrap some masking tape around $1 plastic bottles and throw them on lawns. Your move.


Posted by Smarter than you, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm

LAWL, I saw a cop today and asked him. They said it wasn't meth related. But since you have been certified to identify explosives or narcotics products based on information found here, I'm sure your further examination will not produce such an incorrect conclusion as your first one. Please post your phone number or give your info to the police, so they can consult with you next time. I'm sure your internet expertise (yes, I am questioning how you are more qualified than the people who are trained to recognize POSSIBLE explosives, which probably include meth production related materials) Those high school chemistry classes have seemingly prepared you for the task.

Phil, I agree with you. Can't talk sense into some people.
Our community would "hammer" the police if anything went wrong. Always better to air on the side of caution. Yes helicopters are loud and annoying, but life goes on......


Posted by LAWL, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Why are you inviting me to break the terms of use? (Web Link) Sounds like a reportable offense.

Check this out though: I talked to a cop today. They said it was meth related.

I can also pull sources out of thin air. Nice try, but that doesn't work outside wikipedia.

And I'm pretty sure you are Phil posting from a different IP. Same writing style and complimenting the your old post under the guise of being someone else. I can also go to the apple store and post as a different person under a different IP. Hell I could get crazy with it and get a dynamic IP or post through proxies.

But I'm going to a meeting in about an hour. I'm going to do my serenity prayer and I'm never going to think about you halfwits again.

Don't forget to report every piece of litter you see. Could be an acid bomb.


Posted by Smarter than you, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 18, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Hahaha, wrong again! Why ruin the good streak... And add grammar analyst to the list of expertise LOWL can provide. Don't know too much about proxies, but can spot BS when I see it.

I was unaware NA met on the weekends.

Just think your arrogance and condescending criticism of the citizens, police, everyone else is uncalled for. Personally not always fan of the police myself, but seems like good intentions were held by everyone involved. That should not be disparaged and was uncalled for. Hopefully people will not be discouraged to call in something they feel is not right, lest they be chastised by a person like you via an online forum reporting information to the rest of us who would like some unbiased info.


Posted by Sue Dremann, Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on Aug 18, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Sue Dremann is a registered user.

Hi. I just wanted to clarify for some residents who might not realize that PAPD Agent Marianna Villaescusa is not responsible for yesterday's decisions. She was the designated spokesperson to interact with the media during her shift.

Palo Alto police rotate their public information officers based on their shifts. Marianna did an excellent job of communicating with the media in a timely and thorough manner both at the scene and thereafter. She worked hard to get out a press release late at night.

Other media colleagues complimented her last night. I add my thanks to her also. I have watched her grow in her spokesperson role, and I am grateful for her professionalism.


Posted by Are you kidding, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 18, 2012 at 6:50 pm

So Phil and Smarter can pat each other on the back now that they have shown everyone how smart they are.
I gotta ask, if, Linda picked up the silly plastic bottle and sniffed it, why didn't she just put it in the garbage(or perhaps recycling)?
That sure would have save Phil and Smarter a lot of puffery and those helicopters a lot of fuel.
They examined it. They x-rayed it. They used a robot ( just for grins perhaps?), they destroyed it. Perhaps they should have just sniffed it and thrown it away.
Give me a break.


Posted by adooo, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 18, 2012 at 7:49 pm

''much ado about nothing''...


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 18, 2012 at 8:03 pm

To Adoo and the uninformed critics, easy to say in hindsight and with no responsibility in the decision making process or outcome. Again, the loudest critic is usually the least knowledgeable.


Posted by Aquamarine, a resident of Stanford
on Aug 18, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Bomb squads have to be used or the don't keep getting Calif and federal money, in addition to protecting the public. For their own purposes, they like the practice and we should appreciate their desire to practice, especially with little things like that that prove to be ultimately easy to deal with.


Posted by warnee, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 19, 2012 at 5:44 pm

noticing lots of cops constantly watching ddriving around. cant cross middlefield road without seeing cop car drive by. your stuff being ripped off but cops are always driving by a minority. its like they are keying in on scott duesenberg types just having a drink and that makes therm miss the universe where real criminals dwell. hence the robberies and thefts of items. stop spying on harmless outcasts and find real criminals.


Posted by Are you kidding, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 19, 2012 at 7:45 pm

To be honest Phil, you sound as uninformed as the rest of us. Just more righteous.
And do I think I would have handled it more pragmatically, yes, I would have picked it up and thrown it away. No story at all.


Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 20, 2012 at 9:48 am

It might seem like the helicopter(s) would be unnecessary, but if this was an actual terrorist incident they might need to find or follow a car or person who was involved. A little audible annoyance is a small price to pay for insurance and/or training for the police.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 20, 2012 at 10:26 am

All the animosity directed toward others really isn't necessary. Please be civil; life is too short to spend it cutting each other down. People can disagree respectfully and don't have to compete for top dog. Really.


Posted by Awestruck, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2012 at 11:10 am

After reading the article and the comments (and paying attention to the time they were posted), I'm in awe at this conclusive demonstration that a recovering meth addict has more sense than the entire PAPD (not to mention our esteemed correspondent, the "court consultant/contractor/educator"). Note to editor: it's worth preserving in print.

But this episode, and the mentality that both caused and justifies it, is really more about power and budgets (and "contracts") than it is about about judgment or knowledge, isn't it? The massive deployment of scarce resources, and the admonitions to "trust the experts" instead of our own lying eyes, is simply more evidence that the emperor has no clothes.

Cui bono?


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm

And based on what first hand knowledge and facts Awestruck? You dismiss an operation, cast the players of entirely having no sense, and you expect us to accept your obviously biased view? Another perpetual critic that would only be howling louder if someone had been injured. You can trust the meth addict. I like most reasonable people will stick with the experts.


Posted by bill g , a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 20, 2012 at 1:59 pm

The following from a PAPD representative:

"It is easy to "armchair quarterback", but our response, as you know, follows the County Protocol for suspicious packages/bombs."
------------------------------------------------------------------
No one in the police dept. made arbitrary decisions as some ignorant bloggers said. They responded, as they have been instructed to do, when someone reports a possible bomb threat.

Why it took so long for the bomb squad to arrive is not known to us. The helicopters were mostly news gathering organizations doing their job. Amazing how many can weigh in on a subject with no knowledge or training.

Thanks Sue, for your comment about officer Villescuesa doing her job.


Posted by Blue, White and Mediocre, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Palo Alto is a town of the 'best and brightest'. Police officers, through no fault of their own, are not. It is a shame that our community continues to allow these people to be so careless with our tax dollars. I would be very happy to pay more than I already do to contract a private police company. If we had private law enforcement, they would be fired and replaced after a fiasco like this (and a thousand others over the years). Additionally, we wouldn't have to pay them investment banker salaries like we currently do. Let's take back our town from the C students.

On a side note, it is absurd that the city's RETIRED police chief makes more money per year than the president and many of my neighbors. Web Link


Posted by percursor, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 20, 2012 at 4:21 pm

they want to ''shelter in place'' if they find breadcrumbs in a driveway. exercising control of public under guise of ''security''?. paranoia post you know what?


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Blue and White - what makes you think that this was a fiasco, as per your statement?

"If we had private law enforcement, they would be fired and replaced after a fiasco like this (and a thousand others over the years)."

Have you checked on what the city/county protocols are when a suspicious package is found and discovered that PAPD failed to carry out the protocol in some manner?


Posted by Chill, a resident of another community
on Aug 20, 2012 at 9:20 pm

This stuff never happens in Pally....

Web Link

Web Link

 Web Link

.. Oh..wait... Well let's get private cops...they'll fix big government...

Web Link

...oh..never mind that either... Let's just complain! LMAO!!!!



Posted by Chill, a resident of another community
on Aug 20, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Ok...last one...but...maybe important.

Web Link

...carry on.


Posted by Anon, a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2012 at 8:23 am

Oh my goodness. You guys are so hysterical! My young children always have to have the last word when they argue too. It matters not that neither of them are correct, correctness is mostly irrelevant by the time they get that far. It matters who can shout the loudest and end last.

Too bad all of you are supposed to be grownups. Not one of you were there, nor are any of you experts on any related topic. Yet you stand on your soapbox pontificating about the rights and wrongs about a situation you are entirely ignorant on.

I would be embarrassed to live in a place where my neighbor's biggest problems are helicopters buzzing the house for a couple of hours and the police being careful to make sure the neighborhood doesn't accidentally explode. But, I am thankful you are all around none-the-less, it's nice to have something to giggle at on my lunch break.


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