Bomb squad responds to suspicious packages

Series of false alarms keep Orange County's bomb squad team busy

Author: Amaka Ubaka, Reporter, aubaka@wkmg.com
Published On: Feb 20 2013 07:28:33 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 21 2013 06:18:52 AM EST
ORLANDO, Fla. -

It's been a busy couple of days for the Orange County Sheriff's Office and their bomb squad.

In the past 24 hours, the team has been called out four times to suspicious packages. The latest happened on Wednesday afternoon at the University of Central Florida.

“I hope this isn't a trend in a sense for the public because we don't need that here right now,” says Lt. Larry Spahn, who leads the team. “In the past week we've had six calls for service."

That's a number is unusual for a bomb squad that normally seems two or three calls a week.

On Tuesday, the team responded to three calls alone, starting with William Parsons, who refused to come out of his home for four hours after being served a conviction notice.

“He'd set up what looked like pressure switches wired to certain containers to make it look like it might blow up,” says Spahn.

At the same time, the squad got a call to a Publix near Alafaya Trail, forcing Spahn to have to split his 12 person team.

“It does put a strain not only on the team, but on resources.”

It turned out to be a plastic bag with empty ammo cans.

Next, the squad responded to a call at Orlando Premium Outlets. The suspicious item turned out to be anti-theft equipment.

On Wednesday, the team got a call for a suspicious backpack left in a stairwell.

While he wouldn't give exact numbers, Spahn says the majority of calls turn out to be harmless, but they will be called out to any credible threat.

“If you have a package that is so suspicious that you wouldn't let your child open, why would you open it or send someone else to open it?”

The bomb squad spent about three hours at UCF. They used an x-ray machine on the suspicious backpack and that's when they determined it was not a danger to students and staff.