Checkmate! Suspected Mandeville bomb turns out to be chess set
By Kim Chatelain, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune The Times-Picayune
on June 29, 2013 at 5:22 PM, updated June 29, 2013 at 9:10 PM
A suspected bomb that led to some tense moments, evacuated homes and closed streets in Mandeville turned out to be a chess set. Authorities just after 5 p.m. gave the "all clear'' after investigating the package, which was left on the doorstep of a recently retired IRS agent on Devon Drive in Mandeville's Golden Glen subdivision.
Mandeville Police Chief Rick Richard said a bomb squad from the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office X-rayed the suspicious briefcase-like container, then blasted it open with a water cannon. A deputy clad in body armor moved in for a closer look. Once the deputy was able to get a clear view, he realized the suspicious case didn't contain a bomb, as had been feared much of Saturday afternoon, but rather a chess set.
"When we X-rayed it, it was a mirror image of a pipe bomb,'' Richard said. "I've been around this business for 30 years and I've never seen something that looked so real.''
Richard said what appeared to be batteries to detonate the bomb were actually kings, queens, rooks and pawns. Fibers, threads and other debris inside the case resembled wiring, he added.
Richard said about 25 Mandeville police officers, virtually the entire force, were called out in addition to about 20 St. Tammany Sheriff's Office deputies, plus representatives from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
A Sheriff's Office helicopter hovered above the neighborhood for much of the day.