Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Press release out for potential bomb at Dulles Town Center Mall

In my last post, I spoke about the incident with the “suspicious package” at Dulles Town Center Mall. I have no idea if it had anything to do with the e-mail query I sent but a release was made at the Sheriff’s web site. Here’s the meat of it:

Loudoun County, Virginia- A suspicious package found outside the Dulles Town Center Tuesday night closed a small portion of the mall for several hours.

A shopper at the center found a suitcase outside the JC Penny around 6:45 PM. They notified security with the Dulles Town Center who contacted the Sheriff’s Office. The Loudoun County Bomb Squad responded to the scene and examined the case.

Since it was unclear as to what was in the case the squad decided to render the package safe as a precautionary measure. The scene was cleared shortly before 10 PM. The case did not contain any explosive material.

I question whether the 200-yard wide perimeter surrounding the bulk of the busiest southside parking lots at the mall constitute a “small portion” but I’m sure the Sheriff’s department is looking to downplay things as much as possible. So, someone left a suitcase outside the mall in a position that made an observer - a shopper - worried enough to notice and bring it to the attention of mall security. Interesting. And while I’m very glad that the suitcase contained no explosives, those aren’t the only dangerous materials in the world.

I would hope that the Sheriff’s Department is purusing the case - pardon the pun - even with no explosives found. Several questions need to be answered:

  1. Who left the suitcase?

  2. How did it get left behind? Did someone simply forget it when they were loading their car and drive off or was this item placed there specifically to get the reaction that it did?

  3. If it was a simply goof-up, will the Sheriff’s department explain that, in full? (Having this be a forgetful person is quite a bit different than the implications that arise by having someone do something like this on purpose.)

  4. What did the case contain? We know it wasn’t explosives, but it tells us very different things if the contents were underwear and t-shirts versus electronics and packets of white powder.

I am also getting annecdotal information that there’s now been 3 incidents requiring the bomb squard in the past couple of months. Perhaps a correlative study is in order.