Whether the contents of suspicious packages detonated by authorities late last week were intended as a practical joke, were the work of a mentally troubled individual or represent something far more sinister is now the work of investigators with the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department.
Residents and business owners in Lone Pine are meanwhile breathing a sigh of relief following a bomb scare Friday afternoon at the town’s Post Office. The incident ended with the discovery of what’s been described as “bizarre writing and ramblings” stuffed inside two “cylindrical containers,” Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Carma Roper said.
The containers themselves were covered with writings and swastikas, and were left on the sidewalk outside of the Lone Pine Post Office at an unknown time Friday. Employees found the containers about 3 p.m., and after 45 minutes, reported the packages as suspicious to the Sheriff’s Department, Roper said.
Fearing the containers could contain explosives, law enforcement implemented evacuation procedures and requested the response of the Sheriff’s Department’s explosives expert, Reserve Deputy Dennis Bacoch.
According to Roper, utilizing its CodeRED emergency call-out system, the Sheriff’s Department was able to evacuate businesses within a one-mile radius of the Post Office. Roper explained that, depending on how the businesses were signed up to receive notifications through CodeRED, they were told of Friday’s evacuation via text, cell phone or landline. Deputies also went door-to-door to ensure residents and visitors were kept a safe distance from the Post Office.
Roper said at no point was Main Street – U.S. 395 – closed.
Bacoch ultimately removed the containers from the scene and took them to a remote, undisclosed location where they were detonated, Roper said.
Inside the containers, she said, were more “bizarre writings and ramblings.”
The incident is under investigation.
Anyone with any information about the origins of the containers, or anyone who may have seen anything suspicious outside of the Lone Pine Post Office Friday afternoon, is asked to call the Inyo County Sheriff’s Dispatch at (760) 878-0383.