It wasn’t a bomb — it was an art project. But until police knew for sure, it led to evacuation of a Roanoke bridge and brought out the State Police bomb squad. A citizen called police this morning, reporting a suspicious item attached to the Martin Luther King Jr. pedestrian bridge, which spans the railroad tracks in downtown Roanoke. Officers evacuated the immediate area and called for the bomb squad which removed and disposed of the package. Police say they now know the item in question with a self-made art project, a home-made pinhole camera that looked like drink can wrapped with duct tape.
(Continue reading for the full Roanoke Police news release.)
Roanoke, VA – On April 4, 2013 at 9:39 a.m. the Roanoke Police Department responded to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge in reference to a suspicious item. A citizen called 911 to report a suspicious item attached to the metal bracing on the outside of the bridge’s railing. The item appeared to be a drink can wrapped with duct tape. The item was attached to the railing with a zip tie. Due to its location and the manner in which it was attached, Roanoke Detectives and Officers called the Virginia State Police Bomb Disposal Unit to respond, as well as Roanoke Fire and Emergency Medical Services. Vehicular and pedestrian traffic was diverted from the area as the item was disposed of by Virginia State Police without further incident. The investigation remains ongoing. However, it has been determined that the can had been placed there by an individual as a self-made art project prior to today. The item was designed as a homemade pinhole camera used for solargraphy. It has further been determined that this incident has no correlation to the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination. Detectives are consulting with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to determine if charges will be placed for the disruption of the railway service during the period of time that rail traffic was stopped.