A suspicious, unaccompanied packaged was discovered about an hour ago near the downtown federal Bankruptcy Court. The package — a medium-size white cooler — currently sits on the curb near the courthouse’s street sign. Police have set up perimeter along State and Sola streets a block in each direction.
A technician with the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department bomb squad — donning full gear — recently took an x-ray of the cooler. Once the image is analyzed and the package’s contents determined, it will either be discarded or blown up within a protective casing.
Stay tuned for additional reports.
[UPDATE, 4:49 p.m.]: After an x-ray of the suspicious cooler — perched on the corner of State and Sola streets near Santa Barbara’s federal courthouse — failed to illuminate what was inside it, members of the Sheriff’s Department bomb squad decided to fire a high-powered, water-based inhibitor at it. The device is used to weaken the effects of a potential bomb blast, and it could be heard a block away.
Bomb squad members, upon further investigation, discovered the cooler contained only four to five frozen ice packs.
Police spokesperson Lt. Brent Mandrell said authorities were alerted to the cooler at around 1 p.m. today — the 16th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing — when a concerned passerby called 911. Mandrell said police have “no idea” who the caller was, or who put the cooler there, but said a full response was warranted. “We take these things very seriously,” he said.