The reported package explosion on Northeastern University’s campus in Boston Tuesday night might’ve been a hoax, law enforcement sources said.
Federal officials are probing whether the purported victim actually lied to investigators and staged the incident, officials told the Associated Press.
School and police officials reported Tuesday that shortly after 7 p.m. an employee was injured when he opened a package that was delivered to a campus building. The 45-year-old man was taken to a hospital with minor hand injuries, officials said.
But less than 24 hours later investigators found holes in the staffer’s story and became suspicious because his injuries weren’t consistent with wounds typically caused by an explosion, an official told the AP.
The package at Holmes Hall was in a hard, Pelican-style case with a message inside that ranted against virtual reality and singled out Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, a law enforcement official told the AP. The official also said no explosive material was found and police don’t think it was mailed through the US Postal Service.
CBS Boston reported the note demanded the school’s technology lab stop working on artificial intelligence and the metaverse. It also threatened to destroy the labs and gave the school a deadline with which to comply, the news station reported, citing sources.
Fear swept across the college campus and nearby universities Tuesday as reports of the possible explosion inside spread. Another suspicious package was found near the city’s Museum of Fine Arts, but it was rendered safe by Boston police’s bomb squad.
An FBI official would only say Wednesday afternoon the investigation is “still very active and fluid.”
Northeastern, in a message Wednesday, deemed the campus safe and was opened for classes and other activities.
“Events such as the incident that took place on our Boston campus last night can create or heighten anxiety for many of us,” said Provost David Madigan and Chancellor Kenneth Henderson.
“We would like to underscore what was communicated to our community last night: Multiple law enforcement agencies have determined that the campus is safe and secure.”
Holmes Hall houses the school’s Immersive Media Labs that includes technologies for design and development of virtual worlds. The creative writing program and the women’s, gender and sexuality program is also located at Holmes Hall.
One student said the reported explosion was the talk of campus Wednesday.
“Every time I go to a class or dining hall or anything in general, people are just talking about what’s going on and what went on yesterday,” Lisbeth Martinez said. “A lot of people are still anxious and obviously scared of the situation.”
With Post wires