02/07/2002

Suspicious Package Found at S.F. Federal Building

SFgate.com -- The San Francisco Police Bomb Squad has determined that a suspicious package found today at San Francisco's Federal Building was only made to look like a pipe bomb. X-Rays and computer enhancement showed that the package of bottles and wires was only that: made to look like a pipe bomb.

San Francisco police had blocked off several streets surrounding the San Francisco Federal Building as a bomb squad inside tried to determine the best way to deal with a suspicious package that was delivered to its mailroom this morning.

Police Sgt. Steve Roche said the package was addressed to judges, FBI officials and other federal officers in eight jurisdictions. When the package was X-rayed, it appeared as though it contained "bottles, wires and clips,'' he said.

"Because of the suspicious nature, the bomb squad is in there taking care of business,'' Roche said, adding that the 500 blocks of Polk and Larkin streets have been closed to auto and foot traffic.

If a bomb were detonated in the area, "it would blast'' both sides of the street where the Federal Building's driveway is located, he said.

Roche said that while the building had not been evacuated, people were not being allowed to enter the building.

Golden Gate Avenue and Turk Street have also been closed to automobile traffic. The Federal Building is located at 450 Golden Gate Ave. As a result of the closures, traffic on McAllister Street is snarled.

Karen Kerr, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Fire Department, says a call about the package first came in at 9:25 a.m. from security forces posted at the building.

Today's incident follows an explosion Wednesday inside a bathroom at San Francisco's Hall of Justice. Police spokesman Sherman Ackerson said the loud bang around 12:30 p.m. yesterday could have been caused by a large firecracker and that nothing such as a timer or wires was found inside the first floor men's room.

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