Friday, May 21, 1999

By Ken Sakamoto, Star-Bulletin
Police bomb squad officers emerge from the Attorney
General's office after examining a suspicious package.

Bomb scare clears
downtown block

The 'suspicious' package turns
out to be a delivery
of t-shirts

By Jaymes K. Song


A suspicious package received at the attorney general's office forced the evacuation of two buildings and snarled downtown traffic late this morning.

It was later found that the package contained T-shirts.

The package, addressed to Deputy Attorney General Rick Damerville, sparked suspicion due to its appearance, its wax seals, the fact that the sender's name and return street name were the same, and its foreign point of origin, officials said later.

Markings indicated the package was from Pakistan, said Deborah Peden, a messenger with the attorney general's office who had picked up the package at the post office.

The package was about 1 foot by 9 inches, wrapped in a gray cloth material, according to David Webber, a deputy attorney general. The package didn't look normal, and it was odd shaped, he said. Suspicious packages are something they always look out for, he said.

At 10:36, the police bomb squad was called.

Arriving at the attorney general's office, 425 Queen St., officers evacuated the building, the Princess Ruth Keelikolani Building next door and all window-front offices of neighboring buildings on Queen, Punchbowl and Mililani streets while the HPD bomb squad entered the building.

Outside, fire and medical crews stood by. About 100 employees were milling around waiting, eating, talking, while bomb technicians worked inside.

“It's causing a lot of gridlock and hassles for people around downtown but we're just trying to be as safe as possible,” said Fire Capt. Richard Soo at the height of the evacuation.

Inside the package, bomb technicians found two T-shirts.

Damerville was not at his office during the scare, but contacted after the incident, he said he had received a letter last week telling him he would receive a gift from Pakistan.

“I didn't expect to put out a warning that a package was coming,” he said.

Damerville said he'll probably have the shirts framed as a memento for all the attention they drew.

Star-Bulletin writer Debra Barayuga
contributed to this report.

E-mail to City Desk

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