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Bomb scare near Jewish temple ruled a hoax

December 18, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A search by the LAPD bomb squad came up empty Tuesday after someone reported a suspicious package near a synagogue.

The LAPD bomb squad responded to two calls about a suspicious package in a police car parked outside the Wilshire Boulevard Temple on Harvard Boulevard between Wilshire Boulevard and Sixth Street. The calls were believed to be made by an unidentified male on a pay phone just before 8 a.m.

Los Angeles police Sgt. Rudy Lopez said the synagogue was not being targeted. It took hours of safety checks to make sure the police car was safe. The robot blew out the windows of the car to peer inside and a remote controlled fork-lift hoisted the car so officers could get a look underneath. Bomb sniffing dogs were also sent in to check for explosives.

The search ended around 2 p.m. No device was found.

Investigators say the police car was one of the department's older units. It had been left outside the temple unmanned as a crime deterrent. It's now damaged and has been hauled away -- just one of many downsides of the expensive hoax.

Lopez also said another call of a suspicious package was received around 2 a.m. from someone at the temple. The call was investigated, but nothing was found and temple grounds were deemed clear.

Both investigations lasted a total of six hours, closing off area traffic and prompting evacuations for frightened residents and workers.

Police are now trying to track down the man who made the call. They have identified which pay phone he used, and they are also going to check any nearby surveillance cameras to help track him down.


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