Thursday, January 19, 2012

Paper Trail Ka-Boom!

Hint to everybody who carries a briefcase, camera bag, backpack or any other container that could contain a hazardous device:

Don't leave it unattended!

Especially in a courthouse on a day that several vague bomb threats were received by local officials.

I didn't catch the actual ka-boom, but I did capture the aftermath. According to The Press Enterprise, our local rag, a legal courier left his briefcase unattended inside the courthouse. It aroused suspicion and authorities were called.

It was determined that the best course of action was to remove the briefcase to the street and detonate it. The above shot is of what remains. The only person in the photo who is interested in the debris is the guy in civilian clothes. I wonder if it was his briefcase?

Three courthouses in the area were evacuated, totally screwing up the court calendars for all three. Several streets in the area were closed off, the above shot was taken from a block away.

I was downtown, taking The Saint That I Am Married To out for lunch and saw the debris field that had been blown out into the street. I'm guessin' not much was saved. Ka-Boom indeed!

I may be looking for a part time gig -  maybe there is an opening at the legal courier service place?

Thanks for reading,


  1. Um...if they were going to remove it to the street anyway, why didn't they remove it to one of those little wagons that contain explosions, and cart it far away from the city center before monkeying with it? This kind of crap makes cops looks even stupider than the general public often assumes them to be.

    At what point does a senior LEO, evaluating the situation, determine that "Hey - let's blow it up on the sidewalk out front!" is the best course of action? Good grief.

  2. Easy NYEMT, I don't know why they do what they do. It does seem that response doctrine has moved away from transporting potential devices to a remote location and blowing them up to the practice of destroying them as near to where they are found as possible. Maybe it has to do with the sheer number of potential devices being found. I dunno.

    El Chup - Yeah, I'll bet that guy feels pretty silly. lulz indeed.

    Thanks for the comments

  3. Might I suggest a reason for the destroy in place policy?

    The "disruptor". Bomb techs have developed a tool that uses a jet of water accelerated by a small charge of C-4 to disassemble a device without causing it to detonate. This gives investigators all sorts of physical evidence to track a bomb maker with. If the device is blown up much of that evidence would be destroyed. Especially if the blast is contained in a drum. So the tech can blow the potential bomb across the street with a slug of water and collect the pieces in minutes or he can carefully stow it in a transport vessel, truck it XX miles through urban traffic during which it may go off and immolate itself, and then blow it up.

    I think the end result favors dealing with the device as close to the scene as possible.

    I recall a Nova special some years back that followed British Royal Army EOD in Northern Ireland. At the time they were the busiest bomb squad in the world thanks to the IRA. A lot of the current bomb disposal technology and techniques came from them. Both the procedures for rendering a device safe and for preserving evidence.


  4. Can't you just see this poor guy trying to find his briefcase, then discovering that the resident JBT crew panicked and blew it up? I mean, WTF? If you left it and it was stolen, sure, kick yourself. You did something dumb. But when you forget your briefcase and the government evacuates, what, three courthouses? Then blows it up? That's idiocy.

    As for me, I want a job with the "blow stuff up" department, bureau or whatever it is. I love to watch stuff go up with a nice, loud bang!

  5. I like to watch a show called Bomb Patrol Afghanistan. It's a reality show about an EOD unit deployed in "the Stan" and the pressure that they endure while performing their mission.

    One thing I notice is that they all laugh EVERY TIME they blow something up. So, yeah - a job with the "blowing stuff up" dept. might be kinda fun.

    Thanks for the comment.