An innocuous geocache stirred up a lot of trouble Thursday morning.
Scottsbluff Police responded to a small park near the Broadway River Bridge at about 7:53 a.m. Capt. Tony Straub said that a parks employee contacted the police about a suspicious device under a pine tree in the park.
“It did have the appearance of a pipe bomb,” Straub said. “It was camouflaged and had a wire coming out of it.”
Police and fire crews surrounded the park, blocking it off with crime scene tape and ordering the public away from the area. A bomb squad member could be seen surveying the area and returning to the parking lot. After a few minutes, another member of the team yelled “fire in the hole” at least twice and triggered an explosion.
Police detonated the item in place, in case it was an explosive.
The item was a geocache. A geocache is an item used in treasure-hunting game. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and attempt to find the geocache, usually a container with interesting items, hidden at that location. The geocaches are often hidden at locations that are easily accessible to the public. A search of the site geocaching.com showed a number of geocaches hidden at Scottsbluff parks.
“Anytime we have something like this, close to the pathway where people are traveling or walking, we have to use an abundance of caution and make sure that we protect the public,” Straub said.
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