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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

'Hoax Devices' Found At Several Boston Locations

BOSTON -- Four "hoax devices" were found at several Boston locations Wednesday, hours after officials detonated a suspicious package on an elevated structure above the Sullivan Square Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority station.

The additional packages were found at the Boston University Bridge, the Longfellow Bridge and near the intersection of Stuart and Columbus streets. A device described by officials as a pipe bomb was found in the basement of the Tufts New England Medical Center at 185 Harrison Ave.

A spokesman for the Boston Police Department said that all of the packages appeared to be similar.
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"Our device was not an active device. We are still treating the area as a crime scene. There were no injuries. Everyone was evacuated properly, and everyone now back to their locations," Tufts New England Medical Center's Brooke Hynes said.

Mayor Tom Menino said that all of the packages found posed no danger, but the incidents remained under investigation. Storrow Drive eastbound was shut down for a brief time, and the MBTA suspended service on the Red Line and planned to bus afternoon commuters between Kendall and Park Street stations.

Earlier Wednesday, the state police bomb squad was called and detonated the package in Sullivan Square just before 10 a.m. Officials said it contained an electronic circuit board with some components that were "consistent with an improvised explosive device," but they said it had no explosives. They determined that the device was not dangerous, but destroyed it as a precaution.

"We determined that this device, in particular, was not explosive," said MBTA Lt. Sal Venturelli.

He said MBTA police were told about the package by a transit passenger who spotted it on a column that supports Interstate 93. The parcel was located on an elevated structure above the bus way and below I-93 in the Charlestown section of Boston at about 8 a.m.

"This is a perfect example of our passengers taking part in Homeland Security," Venturelli said.

An investigation will be conducted into how the package got there and when, he said.

Train service on the Orange Line between Sullivan Square and Wellington stations was suspended in both directions. No injuries were reported.

The northbound side of I-93 was closed, causing significant traffic backups. Motorists were not allowed to access the highway near Sullivan Square coming up from the south.

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