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The Region

Amtrak’s Desert Wind left Las Vegas for Los Angeles three hours late after an apparent bomb hoax forced authorities to scour through the train’s luggage and on-board lockers in the gambling city. An Amtrak official said a caller with a Middle Eastern accent phoned the Los Angeles ticket office and said four people wired with bombs would board the train. The caller demanded $1 million and gave authorities the number of a pay phone, later determined to be at the Union Plaza Hotel, where the depot is located. But authorities, aided by a trained dog, were unable to find a bomb. Las Vegas Metro Police Sgt. Mike Cooligan said investigators “now think it was a hoax.” Amtrak official Charles B. Roebuck III said a few passengers complained about the delay, “but it’s better to have complaints than to have the train blow up outside of Las Vegas.” Passenger Effie Cardiges, 43, of Los Angeles said she had decided to take the train “because the airline scares you with bomb threats. I can’t believe this.”


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