That Suspicious Device In Pasadena Was An Empty Drug Container, Police Say
Updated October 30, 11:40 a.m.
Police evacuated a long block of S. Raymond Avenue in Pasadena Monday night after authorities were alerted to a suspicious container spotted attached to a truck parked on the street. A bomb squad swept in and detonated it. News crews and bystanders braced for an explosion. Then, nothing.
"All it was was a plastic container used to ship drugs," Jason Clawson, a lieutenant for the Pasadena police, told LAist/KPCC. It had been fixed to the truck with magnets.
A quick investigation of led officials to the person who returned the shipping truck to the U-Haul site were it was found. Theodore Bancarz, 34, of Glendale was arrested for two misdemeanor drug warrants and released on citation to appear in court, according to a police press release. Officers searched Bancarz's house and found a similar container that enclosed drugs and paraphernalia, according to the release.
The unremarkable end result of the investigation stood in contrast to the initial actions of law enforcement. The evacuations Monday night include the headquarters of KPCC/LAist, where staff had to halt regular broadcasting to Southern California.
A massive response from law enforcement ensued: Pasadena police, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's bomb squad and Pasadena fire officials. Metro's Gold Line, which runs parallel to S. Raymond was suspended and buses dispatched to fill the gap.
.@KPCC + @LAist’s offices and studios at 474 South Raymond in Pasadena have evacuated due to a suspicious package discovered at the U-Haul next door. Raymond Street is being closed from Glenarm to Del Mar. Closures also coming on Fair Oaks and Arroyo east and west of the station pic.twitter.com/OqQgE5ZK08— Libby Denkmann (@libdenk) October 30, 2018
Interim Police Chief John E. Perez said the initial call came into his department shortly before 6 p.m.
Perez said the device had tape and wires around a cylinder attached to the vehicle.
"It looks like it may be an explosive," he initially said, but reassessed when the detonation didn't create a blast.
"Chances are it was not a device, because we didn't hear a loud explosion," Perez said.
Authorities then began working from the theory that it had been intentionally made to look real.
"We'll catch you and you'll pay the price for really creating this type of device and the scare in the community," Perez said.
As more evidence came in, officials re-evaluated once again.
The next day, Perez applauded his department's efforts in a release. "Out of an abundance of caution we took appropriate measures to make sure public safety remained a top priority," he said.
KPCC/LAist reporters Annie Gilbertson, Libby Denkmann and Brian Frank contributed to this story.
8:40 a.m. Tuesday: This story was updated with news that a suspect was in custody.
11:35 a.m.: This story was updated with new information about the nature of the suspicious device and the arrest of the suspect.
Clarification: This story was updated to note that KPCC interrupted regular programming during the evacuation, but the broadcast continued to be live.
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