Detailed Report of Possible Bomb Warranted Evansville Lockdown
The initial report of a possibly explosive device in a car on Thursday was detailed enough that it warranted immediate action to block access to and evacuate parts of Evansville, a Natrona County Sheriff's spokesman said Friday.
"When you compare it [to real bombs], she wasn't wrong," Sgt. Sean Ellis said.
The object turned out to be a capacitor for a car audio system, but no one knew that at the time.
Thursday afternoon, a woman was looking for paperwork for a car parked on her property in the 800 block of East Fifth Street. She wanted the paperwork to file a report and have the car removed from her property, Ellis said.
She saw a cylindrical object with wires protruding from each end, he said.
When she touched one of the wires, a digital readout on the object began counting down starting at 9.6, Ellis said.
The countdown continued, stopped and resumed, he said.
The woman called her husband, described what was happening, and he told her "'it's a f-ing bomb,'" Ellis said.
The woman called 911 at 1:40 p.m., and reported what she saw.
The information she gave was sufficient enough to warrant the multi-agency response that started with blocking the entrances to Evansville, Ellis said.
Law enforcement notified neighbors on that block to evacuate, and began notifying neighbors in surrounding blocks to evaluate, he said.
In such situations, authorities identify places with the highest concentrations of people who are not able to help themselves and then commit resources there, Ellis said.
That meant sending a team of officers and medical resources to the nearby Evansville Elementary School, he said.
In describing the incident, Ellis said authorities have a simple choice: take time to look at it or conduct and immediate and massive response.
The woman's description of the device, which was later identified as a capacitor with a voltage display, was thorough enough to warrant such a response, he said.
Unfortunately, authorities got push-back from some people who resisted being told to evacuate or being ordered not to enter the restricted areas of Evansville, Ellis said.