COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - The Kootenai County Sheriff's Department investigated a suspicious package found near the Kootenai County Jail on Saturday morning that ended up being a hoax.
The package was found at 9:15 a.m. when an inmate clean-up crew found the suspicious device in a pipe near the jail on Government Way. A supervising deputy saw one of the members of the crew had picked up the device and asked the inmate to put it down while he called in a report.
A spokesman for the Sheriff's Department said the device looked like a cellphone attached to a red stick.
Deputies shut down the area on Government Way between Kathleen Ave. and Dalton Ave. and visitors of the jail were evacuated for several hours while a bomb squad investigated.
Frustrated visitors of the jail like Debbie Moore waited for five hours and could not leave because their cars were still in the parking lot. "It has not been a very good day." said Moore.
However, in light of the recent bomb scares, the Kootenai County Sherrif's Department did not want to take any chances. "I think that any time you put, make something that looks like a real explosive device and put it in a public place like the sheriff's office parking lot that is certainly meant to intimidate people," said Major Ben Wolfinger with the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department.
The device was dismantled by a bomb robot before 2 p.m. and crews discovered the bomb was not real. Deputies have confirmed the bomb was a road flare with a cell phone attached to the top and a battery to the bottom.
The Sheriff's Department is still taking the investigation of the fake bomb seriously as creating an artificial bomb to look like a real bomb is a felony in Idaho.