After a package prompted an evacuation, a now-former deputy said the toy bomb delivered to a lieutenant was meant as a joke, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
When a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant opened a package at his desk Tuesday afternoon sent through inner-office mail, he found a red cylinder-shaped object with wires and a hand-written note that said “boom.”
The lieutenant left his office and notified others of the potential threat.
Part of the sheriff’s office administration building, 10750 Ulmerton Road, Largo, were evacuated around 3 p.m. and a bomb detecting K9 was brought in to the building.
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However, the K9 did not alert to the package, according to the sheriff’s office.
The Tampa Police Department Bomb Squad responded to the scene and found the device in the package was not a threat, but a toy.
Shortly after Sheriff Bob Gualtieri sent out an agency-wide message about the non-threatening device and evacuations, Deputy James Piper reached out to his supervisor, according to the sheriff’s office.
Piper, 59, told his supervisor he sent the package to the lieutenant as a joke. He resigned, effective immediately, according to the sheriff’s office.
Piper was re-hired by the sheriff’s office in 2017 after working there between 1982 and 2015.