1Terrorism Chief causes bomb scare after forgetting briefcase
Günter Heiss, head of the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution which is in charge of watching extremists, caused a terror scare of his own making when he left his briefcase next to a buffet table at a political event. Security noticed the unattended case and called the police, who showed up with ten men and a bomb-sniffing dog. A red-faced Heiss admitted to his error. “It was a blunder that won't happen again,” he said to the press.
2Teen boy builds clock, teacher thinks its a bomb
Ahmed Mohamed was a 14-year-old teenager who liked to make inventions and bring them to school to show his friends. On this particular occasion, he decided to make a clock, which he put in a briefcase and brought it to his engineering class. Later, it beeped when it was in his backpack, and a teacher called the police. After a picture of him in handcuffs had gone viral, President Obama weighed in on Twitter saying “Cool clock, Ahmed,” and invited the boy to a science fair at the White House. No charges were filed, and the family later moved to Qatar.
3Dance troup in camouflage runs through Lincoln Tunnel
IN 2011, a Jacksonville, Florida dance troupe visiting New York City cause a terror scare because they were late to a taping. The troupe, called Club Envy, drove 1,000 miles to appear on BET's “106th and Park” but got stuck in gridlock traffic in the Lincoln Tunnel during the final leg. The young performers decided that the only way they were going to make it in time to the show was if they hopped out of the van and ran the rest of the way. The group also happened to be wearing camouflage for their appearance, so naturally, when they started running at top speed through the tunnels, the Port Authority police were instantly alerted, and FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force was called in, drawing their guns and forcing the teens to their knees.
4The Great Boston Mooninite Panic of 2007
It was supposed to be a form of guerrilla advertising. Two artists were hired by Interference Marketing to create electronic placards for the upcoming Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie and place them around Boston. The 40 devices, which looked like Lite Brites, were in the shape of Ignignokt and Err, two Mooninite characters from the show. The artists were paid $300 and told to put them in conspicuous places including subways and bridges, and in the middle of January of 2007, they did just that. But it wasn't until January 31 at 8 am that a commuter spotted one of the art pieces and notified the police; this set off a wave of panic as more of the devices were discovered and several areas of the city were shut down. By around 1:30 pm, Interference was aware that it was their promo that caused the scare, and at 4:30 pm Turner Broadcasting System, the producer of the film, issued an apology.
5German computer company sends ticking “bombs” to potential clients
Here's another publicity stunt gone awry. Convar Deutschland, a German computer company, wanted to drum up some business with new clients. Since they specialize in data recovery, Convar thought it would be a good idea to send out 40 hard drives with a countdown clock glued to them and the words “Your time is running out!” It was referring to the dangers of data loss, but several recipients panicked and called the police. A newspaper in Bonn had evacuated their building of 230 people before the misunderstanding was discovered.
6“Joke” texter spends 10 days in jail, fined £15,000
In 2005, Angela Sceats was running late for a plane to Dublin. She was in London on the train to the airport, and in a joking manner texted her flatmate Angela Forster to "call the police and say there is a bomb on board.” Forster responded back by saying “Serious.” To which Ms. Sceats countered with “Absolutely. Hurry up. Do it from the phone box outside. Put on an accent. Tell there is a man with a gun to your head telling you to make the phone call.” While Sceats was chuckling, Forster was freaking out, and the police were not laughing either. She rang 999 about the texts, causing three flights to Dublin to be delayed and police considered shutting down the airport. Sceats was jailed for ten days and later tried for making a false communication with the deliberate intention of delaying the flight. “This text was sent to her (Forster) as a joke to make her laugh. I never thought she would take it seriously," she said in her defense. The jury cleared her of the charges, and she avoided further jail time, but the judge made her pay £15,000 in fines.
7Sarcastic comment taken for bomb threat
People - don't try and be a comedian when going through security, they won't get the joke. Panarat Noppakhu, a Thai woman, and Eisinger Jurn Walter, a Swiss man, were about to board an Air Asia flight out of Phuket. Sarcastically remarking about the heavy security which didn't allow water bottles past the checkpoint, Panarat said: “If water can cause an explosion, there are two more bottles in my luggage.” That was taken as a threat, the airport was evacuated and the bomb squad re-scanned all the luggage.
8"Profoundly stupid" drunk causes bomb scare
On January 13, 2015, an Irish lad by the name of Colin Hammond was on a bender drinking beer and taking drugs with a friend who did not want to go to work the next morning. The man worked at Intel and promised to pay Colin €30 if he would call in a bomb threat. Colin agreed, going to a nearby phone. He rang up the headquarters, announced he was from the Islamic State, and told them there were hidden bombs everywhere. Naturally, Intel was immediately shut down and lost at least 6,000 hours of production. A month later, Colin was taken to the police station for an unrelated offense, and one of the policemen recognized his voice from the hoax call. He was subsequently put on trial and sentenced to 200 hours community service.
9WIFI hotspot name causes fright on airplane
Be careful what you name your WIFI hotspot, especially if it's at an airport. A Qantas flight out of Melbourne was delayed when a passenger attempting to get on WIFI noticed there was a hotspot named “Mobile Detonation Device.” She notified the captain who delayed the plane and asked the person who created it to come forward. No one did, and 40 people demanded they be taken off the flight, causing further delays. “Some immature person, possibly in the terminal had a (hotspot) name that caused the actual scare,” said an unnamed passenger.
10Wave of panic shuts down JFK for no reason
In August of 2016, a wave of chaos and panic rippled through JFK airport. Terminal 8 was locked down, and over 100 cops descended. Police were shouting through the corridors “Shots fired, active shooter! Everyone run for safety, run!” For two hours, the airport was on lockdown, affecting some 25,000 people. When the incident was over, it was unclear what had started the panic. NBC suggested that it was the sound of people clapping and watching a soccer game had been mistaken for gunfire while other outlets said a guard accidentally triggered an alarm. “It was like this weird domino effect that had everyone panicking,” an NYPD officer said.