STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
MARBLE FALLS — Investigators revealed March 20 that a suspicious package that prompted an evacuation and brought a bomb squad to the city was actually a discarded high school project left beside a car wash trash can, according to the Marble Falls Police Department.
The initial incident was reported just before noon March 19 at the business in the 1600 block of Mormon Mill Road.
As a result, first responders shut down a section of the road, evacuated an adjacent business, locked down two nearby apartment complexes, and requested the assistance of Austin-based explosives experts.
About two hours later, bomb technicians deemed the package harmless and everything went back to normal; however, the Marble Falls Police Department continued its investigation to determine the origin of the package.
“We had posted information yesterday (March 19) trying to solicit the public’s help to identify the person in the (surveillance) video to speak with that person,” Marble Falls Capt. Glenn Hanson said. “We did talk to her.”
Investigators determined the woman in the video merely found the package and reported it to police.
“We received another phone call from a local student who participated in a physics project. He had left (a box) at the car wash,” Hanson said. “It was an egg-drop project to see if they can keep an egg from breaking when dropped from a certain height.”
The contents of the box included cut and sectioned water noodles, duct tape, and popcorn.
“It was rather innocent. He was not leaving it to be suspicious,” Hanson said. “It wouldn’t fit in the trash can, so he set it down by the trash can.
“Now that we have resolution, we’re relieved that it was an innocent happenstance,” the captain added.
Another “suspicious package” was reported the same day to the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers with the same outcome.
A motorist reported seeing a container covered in black liquid in the 9100 block of FM 243 East outside of Bertram.
“It was something that had fallen off a truck,” BCSO Capt. Chris Jett said. “It was container with some oil in it.”
Authorities believe the series of recent mail bomb reports in Austin and Schertz near San Antonio might have the public “on edge.”
Despite the false alarms, agency officials continue to welcome public tips.
“If they’re at all concerned, we don’t mind coming and checking it out,” Jett said.
Hanson added, “We’d like to thank the public for calling because we always want those who see something suspicious to say something.
“It’s our job to check them out.”
Call the Marble Falls Police Department at (830) 693-3611 or the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office at (512) 756-8080 to report suspicious items.