Suspicious device found at Surfside city hall

November 17, 2009 11:08:56 AM PST
A suspicious device was found outside Surfside's City Hall this morning. Investigators say the device wasn't dangerous, but it was suspicious enough to keep city hall shut down for most of the morning. It was a scary sight around 7:30am. A water clerk for the City of Surfside had come outside to smoke a cigarette. But when she tried to dispose of her cigarette butt in a special ashtray, she found a device had been jammed inside.

To the naked eye, the device looked like it could be a pipe bomb. The Surfside Police Department initially treated it as such.

There were seven people inside the city hall and police building at the time. Those people were evacuated.

The local sheriff's department was called out. They, in turn, summoned the FBI. FBI officials removed the device from the ashtray and evaluated it, determining it was some sort of device that is routinely used by telephone companies. They said while it appeared more dangerous than it was, an investigation is still ongoing.

Authorities are reviewing surveillance camera video to determine who may have been behind the prank. It's believed the device was placed in the ashtray sometime between 5pm Friday and 7:30am Monday, when it was discovered.

No one was injured, and all employees were back at work by lunchtime.


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