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Florida deputy resigns after sending toy bomb to lieutenant

James Piper says he sent package as joke

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LARGO, Fla. – A Florida sheriff's deputy has resigned after telling authorities he sent a toy bomb to a colleague as a joke.

Pinellas County sheriff's officials said in an email that the building where the "bomb" arrived was evacuated Tuesday while a bomb squad from the Tampa Police Department checked everything out.

Once Sheriff Bob Gualtieri sent an agency-wide all-clear message, 59-year-old Deputy James Piper told his supervisor he'd sent the package to 46-year-old Lt. Joseph Gerretz. Piper immediately resigned.

Gerretz was in his office when he received the package through inner-office mail. Inside the insulated box was a red, cylinder-shaped object with wires protruding from it. A handwritten note said, "Boom."

Gerretz notified officials of the potential threat and the building was evacuated.