In Superior yesterday, a "suspicious package" left in a Costco parking lot triggered alarm bells, causing the store to go on lockdown, with shoppers held inside while the Boulder County Bomb Squad investigated. Why a terrorist would be targeting a Costco parking lot in Superior was unclear. In any case, within an hour, the source of the panic had been revealed: a piñata -- probably the most unnerving thing about it was that there was mysteriously no candy inside.
But we live perilous times, and as it turns out, a piñata is not even the lamest thing to throw an otherwise peaceful locale into disarray. Here's a few seemingly innocuous objects that shut down traffic -- all within the past six months.
5. A greeting card Not one week ago, in New York City, a midtown office building got shut down on account of an envelope that aroused suspicion for having no return address and because the name of the business it was sent to was misspelled. In fact, it was a musical greeting card -- unconfirmed is that it played "Lime in the Coconut" ad infinitum until the NYPD bomb squad blew it the fuck up just out of spite. In this case, at least the target was somewhat credible: The card had been sent to an Israeli bank.
4. A pair of pants In April, one vigilant citizen became aware of a ticking sound in one of the bathrooms of the Minoru Yasui Plaza City Office Building in downtown Denver. That observation soon made it to the Denver Police Department Bomb Squad, which evacuated the building and stopped traffic on Colfax Avenue nearby for some 90 minutes. After a thorough investigation of the premises, no bomb was recovered. Just a pair of pants somebody had left in the bathroom, for reasons clear only to that person and God.
3. A box full of dog shit In a suburban area of Massachusetts last week, a man reported a suspicious box left by the side of the road -- upon investigation, police officers discovered it to be filled with dog turds. As of yet, no word on whether the officers lit the box on fire and summoned passers-by to stomp it out in a hilarious reenactment of Adam Sandler's iconic "He called the shit poop" scene.
2. An 8-inch-tall toy robot Perhaps alarmed at the possibility of it being descended from a potential master-race of Decepticons, the DPD blocked off a section of 20th Street near Coors field for several hours last month due to the appearance of a small toy robot glued to a column in an underpass -- nobody was allowed within 100 yards of it. The riveting standoff culminated in the DPD actually blowing up the robot to make sure it wasn't a bomb, at which point it was revealed to be... a small toy robot. Everyday heroes, folks.
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1. Kitties! In suburban Florida this October, police shut down a section of U.S. 1 to investigate a suspicious package that turned out to contain the most harmless thing imaginable: Lil kitties! Though police reopened roads immediately after the discovery, traffic was nevertheless slowed to a crawl as motorists admired their adorable cuteness.