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Bomb Scare Evacuates Downtown Building By JAKOB SCHILLER

Friday May 13, 2005

Employees in the building at 1947 Center St. which houses the City of Berkeley’s Office of Transportation were temporarily evacuated Thursday afternoon after a man walked into the building around 3 p.m. claiming to have a bomb in his backpack. 

According Robert White, a private security guard, the man went to the career center in the basement where he told the receptionist about the bomb. The receptionist called White who called Berkeley police. 

White said he suspected something was awry because the man was acting uptight and nervous. 

“I could tell something was wrong,” said White. “He was doing a lot of talking but he wasn’t talking with anyone but himself.” 

Berkeley police quickly arrived and detained the man, who was sitting at a career center computer. He was led outside and held while police cleared the building and sent in the bomb squad, according to Lt. Arnold Lui of the Berkeley Police Department. According to Officer John Jones of the city’s bomb squad, the man’s large travel backpack was searched but contained only clothes and other personal items. 

After the suspect was led out and detained, Lui said, Berkeley police called officers of the city’s Division of Mental Health who determined that he was unstable. According to Lui, an ambulance arrived and took the man to the John George Psychiatric Pavilion in San Leandro. Police said they were unable to release the man’s name because he was not arrested.