On June 29th , around 11:30 am., a disturbing find was made at the home of a retired IRS agent living in Mandeville, Louisiana. Oh my!
There on the doorstep of the unsuspecting citizen lay a suspicious object waiting at the front door. The package was square and tinted in a disturbing red hue, clearly a color meant to cause alarm. That’s exactly what it did as a bomb squad was brought in to investigate.
- 25 officers from the local police force
- 20 Sheriff’s office deputies
- A number of FBI agents
- Members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
The worst was confirmed after an X-ray of the briefcase-sized package produced disturbing results. According to Mandeville’s Police Chief Rick Richard, the interior was “a mirror image of a pipe bomb.” Richard also went on to say that after 30 years in the business, he had “never seen something that looked so real.”
The tension heightened as neighbors were instructed to evacuate the potential blast radius. A friend of Lakewood Heights resident David “Doc” Mancina called him to share news of the situation. After seeing helicopters circling the area, Mancina decided it was best to leave despite not being within the 600 foot perimeter of the official evacuation zone.
Carla Buchholz, a Mandeville Councilwoman, was anxiously observing the incident from inside her Golden Glen subdivision home. Her neighborhood was considered safe from the potentially impending explosion.
When asked if she was concerned, Buchholz stated “Not at all. I think the police have it well in hand. I feel fine.” Those who thought about leaving would have few options because movement was heavily restricted as entire streets were blocked off in preparation for any possible outcome.
It was finally decided to blast the “bomb” open with a powerful water cannon. Doing so revealed the terrifying truth. A brave officer fully clad in body armor moved cautiously closer to discover that instead of containing a tangle of wires and hastily built mechanisms the box actually housed an army of proud kings, queens, knights, rooks and all the necessities for a full game of chess.
The chess pieces were mistakenly thought to be the batteries required to detonate explosives while bits of fiber and other debris resembled the tell-tale wiring of a homemade bomb.
This wasn’t the first time Mandeville has had a bomb scare. Portions of the city were closed off for hours on April 17th after a suspicious briefcase was discovered in the trash outside of a local post office. The briefcase gave up peaceably, which allowed authorities to find that it contained no explosives. Sadly that wasn’t enough to save the attaché bag which was destroyed in the name of public safety.
Authorities declared the area clear around 5 pm. There has been no word on the origins of the rogue chess set.
“Thank God this turned out to be nothing,” Richard commented. “We’re getting a little too much practice at this, but it’s a good exercise.”
While local residents feel satisfied knowing they are in good hands, the hosed down chess set and decimated briefcase may disagree.