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Florida police officer resigns after sending fake bomb that led to the evacuation

The toy bomb was insulated with plastic packing, and consisted of a red cylinder-shaped object with protruding wires, along with a handwritten note with the word “tree.”
(Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office)

A veteran Florida police officer resigned Tuesday after a prank with a toy bomb hit, making the evacuation of an administrative building, the officials said.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release the incident happened around 3 p.m. when Lieutenant Joseph Gerretz opened a package on his desk he had received through inter-office e-mail from Deputy James Piper, 59.

When Gerretz opened it, he discovered a red cylinder with protruding wires safely nestled in plastic packaging. He also found a word handwritten note — the reading of “Tree” — according to the sheriff’s office.

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“Upon opening the box, seeing the note, and the wires, he immediately vacated his office and made mention of the potential danger,” police said.

The entire Sheriff’s Office and the administration building in Largo, Florida. then was evacuated when a K9 bomb detection dog was called to the scene.

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The K9 is not to be alert at suspicious package, and the Tampa Police bomb team eventually confirmed the suspicious device was just a toy.

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After Sheriff Bob Gualtieri sent out an agency-wide message about the evacuation, Piper notified his supervisor and informed him and he sent the package to the lieutenant as a joke, police said.

“The supervisor notified his chain of command,” the sheriff’s office said. “Deputy James Piper resignation with immediate effect.”

Piper was hired at the sheriff’s office in 1982, and in the first instance, to the left in 2015. He was that he in 2017, FOX13 reported.

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