Package that set off bomb scare at Oakland federal building held a message for authorities

The federal building in downtown Oakland.
The federal building in downtown Oakland was evacuated Wednesday after authorities responded to a report of a suspicious device they said looked like “a potential pipe bomb.” It was cleared after about five hours.
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A suspicious package that prompted a bomb scare at the federal building and courthouse complex in downtown Oakland on Wednesday was meant to spark a large law enforcement response and contained a message for authorities, officials said.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office bomb squad and the FBI responded about 12:40 p.m. to a report of a suspicious object at the complex, said Lt. Ray Kelly, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

A person had dropped a bag near a flag pole in front of the federal building, according to an FBI statement. A security officer noticed the bag and “determined it appeared to be suspicious.”


“In looking at this, this incident was designed to get this type of response,” Kelly said. “The person that left this package wanted this type of response.”

Employees were evacuated and authorities asked the public to keep away from the area, Kelly said.

The Sheriff’s Office said in a tweet at 5:29 p.m. that the package was “rendered safe,” adding that it would conduct “an additional search around the federal building out of an abundance of caution.”

The package contained a “specific message for law enforcement,” Kelly said. That message and other evidence were turned over to the FBI.

“The FBI will continue to follow all logical investigative leads related to this incident,” the agency said. “To protect the integrity of the investigation, we have no additional information to provide at this time.”

Oakland police have reopened streets surrounding the federal building to the public, the FBI said.


The Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse complex houses U.S. District Court, the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.