No bomb on the bridge, but an art project

On April 4, 2013 at 9:39 a.m. the Roanoke Police Department responded to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge, Roanoke, Virginia (US). in reference to a suspicious item. A citizen called 911 to report a suspicious item attached to the metal bracing on the outside of the bridge’s railing. The item appeared to be a drink can wrapped with duct tape. The item was attached to the railing with a zip tie. Due to its location and the manner in which it was attached, Roanoke Detectives and Officers called the Virginia State Police Bomb Disposal Unit to respond, as well as Roanoke Fire and Emergency Medical Services.

Vehicular and pedestrian traffic was diverted from the area as the item was disposed of by Virginia State Police without further incident. The investigation remains ongoing.

However, it has been determined that the can had been placed there some time ago by an individual for an art project. The item was designed as a homemade pinhole camera used for solargraphy. It has further been determined that this incident has no correlation to the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination.  Detectives are consulting with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to decide if charges will be placed for the disruption of the railway service during the time that rail traffic was stopped.

Our suggestion is to always identify the item when you are doing such a project preferably with your contact details clearly displayed and the purpose of the item if you really have to do it in a public place. If possible ask for permission from the local authorities!

solargraphy can