COLUMBUS — After watching news reports of a rash of suspicious package scares around Columbus on Thursday, two people decided to leave their own, gift-wrapped box outside an Ohio Department of Education building downtown, creating one more case for bomb squad officers, police said.
Andrew Luhring, 19, of Columbus, and Domonick Dunn, 16, of Tiffin, were arrested Friday and charged with inducing panic, and detectives were pursuing other charges against the two, whose relationship to one another was unclear, said Amanda Ford, a police spokeswoman.
Surveillance video from outside the building helped lead police to the suspects, Ford said. Detectives did not believe they were connected to any of the other cases, and no other arrests were announced.
Bomb squad officers responded to six separate reports of suspicious packages Thursday, starting with two calls about unattended packages about 4:30 p.m.
Over the next two hours, police were called to three other locations to inspect a briefcase left at a gas station and two other unattended packages.
In each instance, police closed off roads surrounding where the parcels were found, snarling rush-hour and evening traffic in the city. Authorities did not believe any of the cases was intended as a terrorist threat, Columbus police Lt. Rod Wittich said.
“With unattended packages, we sometimes want to jump to the conclusion that these are suspicious packages,” Mayor Michael Coleman said. “Ever since 9/11, we look at things different.”
The call about a box wrapped in pink paper with a blue bow at the Education Department came Thursday night. The bomb squad scanned, then cut open the package to find another, smaller box inside. It was detonated, and revealed to be empty, Ford said.