Entries in Suspicious Package (13)


Explosion at O'Hare Airport in Chicago

Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- A checked bag that exploded at Chicago's O'Hare airport Tuesday contained a battery, according to initial reports, and officials do not see a connection to terror.

A baggage handler suffered minor injuries after a bag coming off a plane at Gate C16 at the United Airlines terminal exploded. Officials found the passenger who had checked the bag and questioned him. According to law enforcement officials, initial reports indicate that one of 12 bags that the passenger checked contained a battery. When a baggage handler moved the bag, the contents exploded, injuring his arm.

"We believe that a battery being shipped in a container exploded while being handled by a United employee," said the Chicago Fire Department in a statement. "This is believed to be an accidental discharge. No criminal activity is suspected at this time." The statement also said that the Chicago Fire Department and Chicago Police Department are inspecting another container.

The Chicago Police Department has set up a perimeter and bomb dogs are on the scene.

"TSA is aware of a suspicious item in a checked bag in the C concourse of Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)," said the Transportation Security Administration in a statement. "Local authorities and the FBI are on scene. The owner of the bag has been identified and is being interviewed by law enforcement. To ensure the safety of those in the area, a perimeter has been established while local authorities investigate."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Suspicious Package at Illinois' Scott AFB; Three Treated at Hospital

Scott [dot] AF [dot] mil/Karen Petitt(SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.) -- Three people were hospitalized Wednesday after they developed “rash-like” symptoms while handling a suspicious package in the mail room at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.

A spokesman for the base said the individuals have been treated and released.  Parts of the base, which is located about 25 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri, remain under evacuation as a precaution.

“Scott AFB emergency responders are well-trained professionals who provided immediate response.  They are working diligently to render the area safe and investigating the source of the package,” Col. Mike Hornitschek said in a statement.

The three servicemembers were transported to Memorial Hospital for “possible chemical exposure.”  Another 13 people are being decontaminated on site.  Those treated on site have also been released.

Base officials say they still do not know what the package contained, but said it is being currently tested.  A spokesman was unable to describe its contents but said there is “no immediate threat to the community.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


All Clear after Bomb Squad Checks Suspicious Bag at JFK Airport

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Police evacuated a terminal at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Monday as a bomb squad inspected a bag left inside an American Airlines business class lounge.

The contents of the bag were deemed harmless and the terminal was reopened shortly thereafter. Suspicion arose after a last-minute passenger left it behind and boarded a flight bound for San Francisco.

Police said they had no indication that the passenger evaded security.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Man with Suspicious Materials Detained Near Pentagon

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- A man who was carrying suspected bomb making materials and pro-al Qaeda literature was arrested in Arlington National Cemetery early Friday morning, triggering a bomb scare that snarled Washington's morning rush hour. The FBI, however, determined that the material in his backpack was harmless.

"There was not a device and the products found are determined right now to be inert," said Brenda Heck, special agent in charge of counterterrorism for the FBI.

The material in the suspect's backpack tested negative as a potential explosive, sources said.

Sources told ABC News earlier that the backpack contained what was believed to be ammonium nitrate and spent ammunition for an automatic weapon. The material was reportedly contained in four large Ziplock-type bags.

Sources also said there were pro-al Qaeda statements found in a notebook that contained mostly notes for a financial class. There was also was a page containing words "al qaeda," "Taliban rules," "mujahidin" and "defeated coalition forces."

Two separate law enforcement sources told ABC News that law enforcement identified the suspect as Yonathan Melaku, 22, of Alexandria, Va. U.S. Park Police said no charges have been filed against him yet.

Melaku is a naturalized citizen and lance corporal in the Marine Corps Reserve, 4th engineer batallion out of the Baltimore, Md.

Sources say they haven't found any ties to a terrorist organization.

Police and the media congregated at Melaku's home in Fairfax County, Va. where two people were seen being questioned by authorities and FBI agents. The FBI and Fairfax police were seen huddling in groups and putting police tape to prevent people from entering the area. They went into the townhouse with bomb technicians without a search warrant under the "public safety hazard" issue.

An FBI spokesman would not confirm whether the house was indeed Melaku's or his parents' residence, but did say it's connected to the suspect and there was no safety hazard.

Melaku allegedly told police in Arlington when he was captured that there were other "devices" in the area and also the location of his vehicle. But the FBI said there was no reason to believe other individuals were involved and they believe the suspect acted alone.

Police were investigating a vehicle, a red 2011 Nissan, that contained materials authorities were examining to determine if it was a bomb or other weapon. The material was reportedly neutralized, according to law enforcement spokesmen at the scene.

Park Police Sgt. David Scholsser said in a news conference the man was found at about 1:30 a.m. in the Arlington National Cemetery, located near the Pentagon. He was first caught by the Ft. Myers police but then ran into adjacent Arlington National Cemetery, where he was apprehended by the military. When questioned, Melaku was uncooperative but then took the police to his car.

Melaku was arrested last month for smashing windows and stealing valuables from 27 cars in Leesburg, Va. He was charged with four counts of grand larceny although the police did not find any discernible ideological motive.

A man by the same name and birth month was also arrested in Fairfax County for reckless driving and failure to stop. He pleaded guilty and paid a $200 fine for the former charge and $30 for the second charge.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Suspicious Vehicle Found Near Pentagon

Leesburg Police Department   (ARLINGTON, Va.) -- One suspect was taken into custody Friday morning as authorities investigated a suspicious vehicle found near the Pentagon, ABC News has learned.

Federal officials detained the man -- identified by two separate law enforcement sources as Yonathan Melaku, 22, of Alexandria, Virginia -- in Arlington National Cemetery.  He was carrying a backpack that contained ammonium nitrate and ammunition for an automatic weapon.  The bag also contained written material that referenced al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The FBI, however, determined that the material in his backpack was harmless.

"There was not a device and the products found are determined right now to be inert," said Brenda Heck, a special agent in charge of counterterrorism for the FBI.

Melaku allegedly told police that there were other "devices" in the area and also mentioned the location of a vehicle.

The vehicle in question -- a red 2011 Nissan -- was parked off the roadway on Washington Boulevard.  Authorities were examining it to determine if it contained a bomb or other weapon of mass destruction, but early reports are it didn't appear to be a "workable" bomb.  According to a law enforcement spokesman at the scene, authorities neutralized the suspicious device as a precaution.

Several roads in the vicinity were closed off by authorities as a result.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Police Investigate Suspicious Devices at MIT

Jupiterimages/ThinkstockUPDATE: Investigators at MIT have given the all-clear after an earlier situation involving what was believed to have been a pipe bomb. The school released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

Public officials have cleared the scene at New House and have announced that the area is safe to re-enter.

Officials have investigated and determined there was no threat to campus safety. An object that had the appearance and characteristics of a pipe bomb turned out, on further examination, to be a collection of harmless materials.

MIT is grateful to the responding federal, state, and local agencies for investigating and ensuring the safety of the campus. The Institute also thanks the community for heeding requests to stay clear of the area while emergency officials did their work.

(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) -- The sounds of controlled detonations pierced the quiet air of one of the nation's most prestigious campuses Tuesday as police popped the end caps off at least one pipe bomb as they investigated what appear to be multiple suspicious devices planted at an unfinished dorm building at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Two buildings, including the dorm, were evacuated and the Boston police bomb squad, the FBI and officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were on the scene.

Law enforcement sources told ABC News police do not know what could be inside the devices, but are attempting to "vent" two of the devices by firing an explosively propelled high pressure water jet to shoot the end caps off the pipe in hopes of preventing any explosions. Police are assessing the other devices for possible controlled detonation, according to an early police report.

In an alert posted on the MIT website, the university asked students to "stay away" from the building in question and said "the situation is ongoing."

The campus is currently home to a relatively small fraction of students as the university celebrated its 2011 graduation last week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Oklahoma City Airport Evacuated for Suspicious Package

FIle photo. Amos Morgan/Thinkstock(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- Authorities have evacuated parts of an Oklahoma City airport after a suspicious bag prompted concern, according to a spokesperson.

The ticket lobby, baggage claim level and concourse of the Will Rogers World Airport were evacuated Friday as a safety precaution.

All inbound flights have reportedly been put on hold as officials investigate.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Package Ignites in DC: Homeland Security Chief Targeted

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A package addressed to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano ignited Friday at a Washington, D.C. postal facility. The package looked "similar" to the book-sized envelopes that detonated in Maryland on Thursday, officials said, but it was not immediately clear whether the incidents were related and whether the same person sent all three packages.

DC Metro Police Chief Cathy Lanier said "there was popping, smoking, a brief flash of fire and then it extinguished itself."  No injuries were reported and the building was evacuated as a precautionary measure.  U.S. postal service spokeswoman Irene Lericos said that the building is an annex that handles U.S. government mail.

On Thursday, a pair of incendiary devices in small packages, including one addressed to the governor of Maryland, erupted within hours of each other inside two government office buildings in Maryland. The detonations injured two people but there were no major injuries. Those devices -- similar in construction to ones recently mailed to embassies in Rome and in Greece -- were described by one official as "terror vandalism," that are "intended to scare, and hurt you a bit, but not kill." Officials described them as powered by a small battery linked to an electric match and a switch.  A message linked to the devices suggested they were sent by someone who was angry with the government's terror warnings, sources told ABC News.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Packages Ignite at Government Mail Facility in Wash., D.C.

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Police responded Friday afternoon to reports of a suspicious package that ignited at a Washington, D.C., postal facility that handles U.S. government mail. The building was evacuated, but no injuries were immediately reported.

The incident comes just 24 hours after a pair of small packages burst into flames inside two government office buildings in Maryland on Thursday. At least five were treated for minor injuries.

The devices that caused Thursday's scare were described by authorities as close in size to a small padded envelope or book. One exploded at the Maryland Department of Transportation headquarters, the other at the Jeffrey Building in downtown Annapolis, which houses the Maryland secretary of state and the Maryland Office of Homeland Security. A federal probe was launched to determine who may have sent the devices.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Police Investigate Car Parked Outside NYC Museum

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Police in New York City shut down a portion of 5th Avenue in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a brief time Monday as bomb technicians assessed the contents of a legally parked car.

Authorities on scene gave the all-clear shortly before noon after pulling a number of suitcases from the vehicle.

The car's proximity to the home of an Israeli ambassador to the United Nations may have triggered an escalated police response, a source told ABC News.

The museum was not scheduled to open Monday.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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