Deputy Mailed Toy Bomb to Lieutenant as Joke
A former Pinellas County deputy who resigned after he admitted sending a toy bomb as a joke has been arrested.
LARGO – A patrol deputy who resigned Tuesday (Jan. 8) after he admitted mailing a toy bomb to a lieutenant as a joke has been arrested, lieutenant in the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
James Piper, 59, turned himself in to the PInellas County Jail about 4 p.m. today (Jan. 9). He was charged with one count of Planting of Hoax Bomb, a second degree felony. Piper, who resigned Tuesday had worked for the Pinellas sheriff from 1982 to 2015. He was rehired Jan. 17, 2017.
Deputies said that, at about 3 p.m. Tuesday, Lt. Joseph Gerretz was in his office at the Sheriff’s Administration Building, 10750 Ulmerton Road in Largo, when he receive a package through inner-office mail.
Gerretz opened the box at his desk. The box was insulated with plastic packaging and contained a red cylinder shaped object with protruding wires. A handwritten note with the word “Boom” was included inside the package.
Upon opening the box, seeing the handwritten note and the wires, he immediately vacated his office and notified the department of the potential threat.
Portions of the Sheriff’s Administration Building were evacuated and a handler with a K-9 bomb detection dog was called to the scene. The K-9 did not alert to the suspicious package.
Members of the Tampa Police Department Bomb Team also came and and confirmed that the device was not a threat. The device was determined to be a toy bomb.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri sent agencywide communications regarding the partial evacuations and the fact that the device was not a threat.
After seeing the Sheriff’s communication regarding the suspicious device, Piper told his his supervisor and that he sent the package to the lieutenant as a joke. The supervisor notified his chain of command.
Photos of toy bomb and note courtesy of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Pinellas Sheriff | Bomb Threat | Toy Bomb | Joke Bomb | Crime | Arrests | Tampabay News
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