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University of Iowa News Release


Dec. 19, 2008

Suspicious package at Burge determined to be ‘no threat’

University of Iowa Police have determined that the suspicious package found at Burge Hall Thursday afternoon may have been a Halloween costume that appeared to include a large battery and wires that gave it a bomb-like appearance.

Attempts by the Johnson County Bomb Squad to x-ray the item to verify its true nature Thursday evening were inconclusive. After the item was detonated from a safe distance, it was determined that no explosives were involved.

During interviews conducted Friday morning by UI Police investigators, Burge Hall custodial staff reported that the item might have fallen off of a trash cart in the service elevator where it was found. The incident remains under review.

“We are pleased to have determined that this package was not a threat to our students or staff,” said Chuck Green, UI police chief and assistant vice president of public safety. “It’s important to know that there was no verbal or written threat related to this package. Given the appearance of the package, the Burge Hall resident assistant who found it and reported it to the police deserves commendation.

“We regret the hardships that this incident caused for students who needed to study for final exams or make plans to go home, but we are relieved that this does not appear to be a malicious act,” Green added.

Green praised the efforts by Burge Hall resident assistants to evacuate students and the efforts of law enforcement personnel who responded to the scene, including the Johnson County Metro Bomb Squad, Iowa City Police, Coralville Police, and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department.

“I’m proud of the response of all of these people, including members of my own staff, for the professionalism they demonstrated under difficult circumstances,” Green said.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Parrott, UI spokesperson, 319-335-0552,