Turner Broadcasting "regrets" Boston security scare
By Jason SzepWed Jan 31, 6:39 PM ET
Turner Broadcasting apologized on Wednesday for a marketing campaign that sparked Boston's biggest security scare since the September 11, 2001, attacks -- closing bridges, shutting major roads and putting hundreds of police on alert.
The day-long scare began when a suspicious package was found on a steel beam under a bridge in the morning. Police stopped traffic on a major interstate highway north of Boston, cordoned off the area, deployed a bomb squad and blew it up.
By afternoon, at least eight other similar suspicious packages were discovered, each triggering a security alert involving emergency crews, federal agents, bomb squads, police and the U.S. Coast Guard.
"The 'packages' in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger," Turner Broadcasting System Inc., a unit of Time Warner Inc., said in statement.
It said the devices were part of an outdoor marketing campaign in 10 American cities for an animated television show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" produced by its Adult Swim brand.
They had been in place for two to three weeks in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.
"We regret that they were mistakenly thought to pose any danger," said Turner, adding that it had contacted law enforcement officials to give them the precise locations of the packages.
The discoveries in Boston triggered the biggest city-wide security alert since the September 11, 2001, attacks.
It forced the U.S. Coast Guard to close the Charles River that feeds from the Atlantic Ocean into the city and caused authorities to shut down major bridges linking Boston with neighboring Cambridge along with several roads.
"This has taken a significant toll on our resources," Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis told reporters.
The packages looked roughly similar, he said.
"We feel there is not a reason for anyone to panic," Gov. Deval Patrick told a news conference before Turner released its statement widely to the media.
Four of the packages were discovered near the New England Medical Center, the Longfellow Bridge that connects Boston with Cambridge, the Boston University Bridge and at an intersection in central Boston.
"All were found not to be explosive devices," said Boston Police Department spokesman Eddy Chrispin.
(Additional reporting by Svea Herbst and Scott Malone)
Loki: All this for a freakin' cartoon?!