Boston investigators are baffled by a package which reportedly “exploded” without any explosives. It injured a staff member at Northeastern University Tuesday evening. They should be smart enough to figure it out, the person who sent it apparently reasons. After the phantom bomber got their attention, inside the box was “a rambling note that criticized Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the relationship between academic institutions and the developers of virtual reality.” Which universe did the bomb go off in? Everyone wonders.
Rapidly decompressing package
It wasn’t as much of an “explosion” as a “forceful depressurization.” A rose is a rose says the 45-year-old man injured on Tuesday, September 13. His hand still hurts. At least, it wasn’t blown off. The bomb squad is calling the alleged package explosion “staged” but that doesn’t mean someone didn’t “plant” the suspicious “hard plastic case with latches” where it was adversely encountered.
It’s easy to imagine one plausible scenario. Toss a chunk of dry ice in with the letter and seal it up. Not expected to be fatal, as long as the shell holds, but definitely an attention grabber.
Initial reports assumed it was your basic Unibomber style parcel device but this bomb didn’t actually “explode.” It didn’t go through the mail either. In Boston, detectives are trying to figure out “how the package arrived on the campus.”
It seems a lot like someone targeted Northeastern's VR club with an explosive package pic.twitter.com/dwoFY9wRZB
— Brian Jordan (@bcjordan) September 14, 2022
The device ended up in the university’s virtual reality center in Holmes Hall and was opened by someone who works there. “The note was in a hard plastic container that detonated as the victim opened the latches and lifted the lid.” He popped the latches and the lid lifted itself.
Police were called around 7:18 p.m. to investigate the suspicious package, Police Superintendent Felipe Colon notes at a news conference Tuesday night. “About a minute after the initial call, a Northeastern University police officer arrived at Holmes Hall.”
University police announced the scene “contained” by 10 p.m. “It’s very important to note, our campus is secure,” Michael Davis, chief of the university police department insists.
FBI can’t figure it out
Apparently, a chunk of dry ice in a tackle box is something which the FBI can’t seem to comprehend. The FBI Boston Division coordinated with the Boston Police Department to run all the fancy tests on the package they can think of.
The bureau even offered “the full resources of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, its evidence response team and special agent bomb technicians to assist in the investigation.” Apparently, none of them detected any traces of carbon dioxide residue.
The university “serves more than 16,000 undergraduate students, according to last year’s enrollment report.”
They all learned a lesson about flipping the latches on a package which you weren’t expecting that didn’t come from a major cargo carrier. By Wednesday, the campus was back to business as usual.
Even if it wasn’t officially an explosion, the University got seriously rattled by the rapidly decompressing package.
“Events such as the incident that took place on our Boston campus last night can create or heighten anxiety for many of us,” said a joint statement from David Madigan, Northeastern’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs and Kenneth Henderson, chancellor and senior vice president.