Investigation Into Suspicious Device Outside Synagogue Continues

Sunday, March 25th 2007, 1:41 pm
By: News On 6

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) _ Residents who were evacuated after police discovered a possible bomb were allowed to return to the downtown area late Saturday after the item was determined not to be an explosive device, police said. Officers cleared nearby buildings and residences after receiving a call about 7:15 p.m. that a possible bomb was found in the area of 7th and Boston streets, Officer Brad Holt said. The building houses the Temple Beth Ahaba, a Jewish temple.

Muskogee Police requested help from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol's bomb squad, which later determined that the device was a large container of cooking oil, Holt said.

``It was in a shopping cart,'' he said. ``Someone stuck some wires in it and some kind of timing device to make it appear like a bomb.

``It could be kids playing a prank or a mental patient. We've seen stuff like that before.''

Reports that the device was a fertilizer bomb with a swastika on it turned out not to be the case. Someone had painted the symbol, associated with the Nazi Party during World War II, on the building last year, Holt said.

Besides the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the Muskogee County Sheriff's office, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives helped with the investigation, Holt said.