Suspicious Package Closes UVA Dorm

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

September 16, 2005

UVA police uncovered a suspicious package ticking in the mailroom of one of the dormitories. The Virginia State Police Bomb Squad determined the ticking sound came from an alarm clock inside of a package. But for three hours, there was some tension on the grounds of UVA.

"We were just studying in our dorm, and all of a sudden the fire alarm went off," explained 1st year Brady Cummins. "I kind of thought it was a fire drill and we came out and there was a lot of police."

Just after 4:30 p.m., a worker in the mailroom at Page dorm noticed a package was ticking. The worker immediately called UVA Police. The police set up a perimeter around the building which is located in the 400 block of McCormick Road.

Charlottesville City fire units and Albemarle County K-9 units also responded to assist. Police took several hours to try and determine the exact nature of the package. In this case, police said it's always better to be careful.

"When you have a suspicious package--obviously you don't know what's inside--we would rather err on the side of caution," said Capt. Michael Campbell of the UVA Police.

After an initial investigation, UVA officials called bomb technicians from the Virginia State Police. Students and faculty gathered nervously, wondering and waiting.

"I went outside and I sure didn't know what was going on. Unsure of the situation in general. So I was kind of nervous," said 1st year Joe O'Brien.

Just before 8 p.m., the Virginia State Police bomb technicians gave the all clear.

"They determined that the packages contained various items, but the item that caused the ticking in the package was an alarm clock," explained Capt. Campbell.

Students were allowed back into the dorm shortly thereafter, and while of course they were inconvenienced, they were also thankful for the positive outcome.

"I feel a lot better. Glad the police got here so fast and they handled it really well," said O'Brien. "Nothing was a bomb, nothing really happened."

No one was hurt in this incident. All of the streets surrounding Page dorm have been re-opened. The package was being delivered to a student.

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