News

Suspicious object shuts down Middlefield Road

Palo Alto police close street, evacuate some homes after finding object resembling pipe bomb

A suspicious object resembling a pipe bomb prompted Palo Alto police to shut down a portion of Middlefield Road and evacuate residents from about a dozen homes Sunday morning.

Police responded to a report of a suspicious item in the roadway in the 1300 block of Middlefield, close to Lucie Stern Community Center, shortly before 9 a.m. The object consisted of a cylindrical bottle with a cell phone strapped to it and wires sticking out of it, police said in a statement.

Police asked residents in about a dozen homes close to the object to evacuate, said police Agent Marianne Villaescusa. Residents in a few dozen other homes were either told to take shelter away from the windows or advised not to leave the house, she said.

"Any houses that could have possibly been in any danger if it had been a blast were evacuated," Villaescusa said. "We spoke with other people and they were given the choice to evacuate or shelter in-place, which is what a lot of people chose."

Police also shut down traffic on Middlefield between Embarcadero Road and Kingsley Avenue until about 1 p.m.

The Santa Clara County Bomb Squad inspected the device and deemed it "suspicious" but inert. The bomb squad used a robot to detonate the device at about 1 p.m.

Police are trying to locate the person responsible for the device. Anyone with information is asked to call Palo Alto police at 650-329-2413 or make an anonymous report at paloalto@tipnow.org.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by anon
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Aug 28, 2011 at 11:04 pm

When they say "[t]he bomb squad used a robot to detonate the device at about 1 p.m.," does that mean that the device was indeed a bomb, or that they simply used a charge placed by the robot to destroy the device remotely as a safety precaution?


Like this comment
Posted by T
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 28, 2011 at 11:42 pm

I had the same question anon.

Too, people were talking about this all day and I couldn't find anything online about it. Was there a (deliberate) reason for that?


Like this comment
Posted by PA resident
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 29, 2011 at 5:13 am

Ditto to the previous comments! Why are the Palo Alto Police so closed lipped in what should have been more openly discussed matter? The police were more interested in "power trips" than "serve and protect"!


Like this comment
Posted by Member
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 29, 2011 at 7:18 am

C'mon folks
For Pete's sake the police warned those in harms way and kept them safe. If it was a bomb they must be in high gear following every piece of evidence..if not, they are looking for a prankster who nontheless terrorized a neighborhood

They are probably doing what they need to do to catch the persons responsible and don't want too much information out there that might tip off someone...

When officers are in the wrong I am the first to say so

Complaining about 'power trips' is unfair and a stretch


Like this comment
Posted by Mayo
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 29, 2011 at 8:15 am

"Power trips than serve and protect" If I'm not mistaken, the police and the bomb squad were the ones who had to deal with the potential explosive, warned people, and kept them out of harms way. Where would anyone get "power trip" out of that. Give me a break.


Like this comment
Posted by Question
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 29, 2011 at 8:46 am

If it was a bomb, why did it take 4 hours to deal with?


Like this comment
Posted by Mayo
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 29, 2011 at 8:52 am

It's called reality Question. It's not an episode of CSI. The county sheriff bomb squad trucks were out there, so waiting for them to arrive probably took some time. I think they're down in San Jose on an on-call basis.


Like this comment
Posted by Question
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 29, 2011 at 8:54 am

"It's called reality Question. It's not an episode of CSI."

Mayo--you do not have to be snide with you reply. I asked a simple question--a civil answer would have sufficed.


Like this comment
Posted by Gennady Sheyner
Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on Aug 29, 2011 at 9:09 am

Gennady Sheyner is a registered user.

Hi Anon and T,

The bomb squad determined that the device was inert, but decided to destroy it as a safety precaution.

Thanks,

Gennady


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 29, 2011 at 9:36 am

So, this was a prank? A trial run?

Regardless, the guilty party should be caught, scolded and charged the cost of emergency response for his/her actions. It seems like an obvious attempt to cause a scene.

Hopefully, the perp was dumb enough to use a cell phone that is traceable (either via the ESN...or a prepaid device purchased at a store with cameras).


Like this comment
Posted by mo
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 29, 2011 at 10:06 am

Give me the drug.


Like this comment
Posted by kongjie
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 29, 2011 at 11:16 am

kongjie is a registered user.

Well, I thought it would be convenient to tape my cell phone to my Mountain Dew bottle, but now I'm reconsidering.


Like this comment
Posted by Martin
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 29, 2011 at 11:18 am

"Give me the drug." ??? What the heck is that supposed to mean?


Like this comment
Posted by thoughtful
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 29, 2011 at 11:53 am

Sound like the police took appropriate action to protect the public by following dept procedure. Thank you, PAPD!


Like this comment
Posted by no lo contend
a resident of Southgate
on Aug 29, 2011 at 3:05 pm

there is no such thing as love. if there were, it wouled be there all the time. also ,there is no such thing as growing up. you only learn to behave! just look at your leaders , schoolyard crybabies to the max.


Like this comment
Posted by kongjie wins
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 29, 2011 at 3:19 pm

kong:

you win

hands down, the funniest thing I've read on this forum


Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 29, 2011 at 8:32 pm

No wonder our society is in trouble when half the people get wrapped up in conspiracy theories and doubt that our police are doing their job.

When people are put in possible harm's way, it behooves all to exercise due caution. It's too easy to second guess an event after it's over. If a bomb had been exploded, there would have been recriminations for days.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 30, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Bill's right. This was a disturbing happening, even if was kids just acting like idiots. All the money & care that went into this, the people disrupted & the time spent on this fake bomb - what a waste! And still, it's not clear if it was a prank or a dry run. I hope they manage to find the responsible party & they, among other things, get fined. Sometimes we only understand when hit in our wallets.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

El Camino: Another scheme to increase congestion?
By Douglas Moran | 10 comments | 1,696 views

Post-election reflections -- and sponges
By Diana Diamond | 13 comments | 1,619 views

Couples: Philosophy of Love
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,287 views

Trials of My Grandmother
By Aldis Petriceks | 1 comment | 801 views