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Old 10-09-2012, 12:42   #1
Berto
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Street corner losers.

Weird question (maybe);

I was eating fast food in a parking lot which overlooks a busy intersection. The usual folks had their positions at nearby offramps and onramps to the freeway, with their signs out for "whatever help one could spare".
Right below was the most popular corner, occupied by a pretty rough looking guy with a bad limp. He had a duffel bag, approximately 3ft by 1ft wide. The guy wandered off to get food, leaving this bag sitting at the northwest corner of the intersection, right in the middle of the sidewalk.
I wasn't initially paying much attention to the whole thing, but this bag really stuck out for some reason, just sitting there for easily 1/2 hour, with lines of traffic on both sides, along with pedestrians passing it- even stepping over it- as it sat there.
It was in perfect proximity to lots of people; on foot, in cars, sitting within 50ft of a bus stop, etc.
Were this an airport or maybe even train station, I suspect there would be some sort of security or Law Enforcement inquiry about a bag like that, in a fairly conpsicuous spot, unattended.....or I'm paranoid.

I notice they always have a cart or bag of some sort for extra clothes/hootch/dope/whatever, and frequently leave them nearby while they beg for stuff. It seems like it would be a great way to set up a mass killing/bombing situation as people get used to seeing stuff like unattended bags or carts at a busy street corner/ intersection, and become comfortable with it.

So....I guess my question is, do you get people calling about such things- a suspicious bag that could be something sinister/ IED in association with street corner sign people?
Is there a protocol in what leeway the street beggers have with this stuff, and what people should bring to the attention of LE?
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:44   #2
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Ever see hobos turn the shopping cart on it's side, and grill on it?
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:51   #3
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Ever see hobos turn the shopping cart on it's side, and grill on it?
Yes. And I think it's awesome.
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Old 10-09-2012, 13:03   #4
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Quote:
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So....I guess my question is, do you get people calling about such things- a suspicious bag that could be something sinister/ IED in association with street corner sign people?
I was a recruiter in upstate NY years ago. Not long after the 9/11 attacks, I was visiting the MEPS in a federal building in Syracuse. On my way in, I spotted a backpack that someone had attempted to hide up against the wall behind a big flower planter. I notified security because it was just too fishy to ignore. I was nervous and wondering if it was a bomb while I was inside the building. On my way out later in the day, I asked security what was in the backpack. They told me that they had called the bomb squad. Some kid who was enlisting in the Army had been drinking underage the night before in the hotel and didn't want to throw away the leftover beer so he took it with him to MEPS, saw that security was checking bags and went back outside to hide it. The police busted him for underage drinking and he was disqualified from enlisting until he went to court and was adjudicated.

Is it SOP to evacuate a building when determining if a package is a bomb? They didn't evacuate us, I only heard that the bomb squad was there after the fact.

Last edited by Chesafreak; 10-09-2012 at 13:08..
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Old 10-09-2012, 13:37   #5
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I guess it depends on what the norm is where you live. In my jurisdiction we have an ordinance against panhandling so people will call it in. I go a few counties away and see people panhandling at every major intersection almost. As far as bags go, if I see it then it is mine. I do a one page form and put it away as found property. If someone wants to claim it as theirs afterwards along with whatever drug paraphernalia is inside then I'm more than happy to charge them with it.
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Old 10-09-2012, 13:46   #6
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We get "suspicious package" calls all the time. I work in a college town. All it takes is a kid leaving his book bag on the library steps and we get a call about it.

We got an explosives trained dog just because of all the calls we get about suspicious packages.

As far as the bum goes, my state has a "loitering" statute. If I see him begging for money and can articulate that he is disrupting the normal flow of business/traffic I can arrest him. Getting a conviction in court with our judge who does not like the way the statute is worded is a different story. If we get several complaints about a subject I will make the arrest if I can and just see how it goes.

Bums are not common in my city, we dont tolerate it well, and they usually move on in a day or two.

Public Consumption and Public Intoxication are easier charges to make and once arrested and given a court date they move on as they have no money to post bond or pay fines and generate a warrant.
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Old 10-09-2012, 14:36   #7
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I think we may get less now than a few years ago. It was so bad at one point, people would call when they saw granules on the sidewalk. Next to the grass. That was just fertilized.
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Old 10-09-2012, 22:31   #8
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If someone called in every homeless guy's unattended garbage, I suspect most LA County cops wouldn't get to do anything else.
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Old 10-09-2012, 23:39   #9
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Is it SOP to evacuate a building when determining if a package is a bomb? They didn't evacuate us, I only heard that the bomb squad was there after the fact.
I donno. Many Moons ago, I was a GS-12 (~Captain) on an AF base. Right after 9/11, some ding-dong left his briefcase sitting in a doorway at the end of the day while he went to take a poop.

I didn't know how it got there, and none of the other civs and uniformed knew either. We all agreed that it was a classic bomb setup from training films. I was ranking, and I called it in.

The security police never came, and the zipperhead who left it, picked it up and took it with him.

Later, the security police called ME and gave me hell because the thought I'd left the briefcase.

That ended when I told the screwup A1C that I was the one who reported the incident.

They screwed the pooch. Big time.
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Old 10-10-2012, 04:24   #10
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About four weeks ago on my walk to work at 0545, I noticed a large duffel bag sitting on the sidewalk across the street. As I got closer I noticed no one was around or paying any attention to this rather large bag. It was on a corner across from the federal building in Pittsburgh. So ten minutes goes by and no one looking at the bag but me. After 15 minutes I call 911. Took 15 minutes for a patrol car to arrive. No problem but now the bag has been there for close to 30 minutes and no one giving it any attention. I give the officer my information and go to work. Fifteen minutes later I look out my window and they got the entire area roped off and the bomb squad called out. Turns out it was actually two bags full of clothes. I talked to some Federal Protection Service Police Officers later that day and they said it was good I called it in even though it was a false alarm.
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Old 10-10-2012, 13:50   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ship A'Hoy View Post
About four weeks ago on my walk to work at 0545, I noticed a large duffel bag sitting on the sidewalk across the street. As I got closer I noticed no one was around or paying any attention to this rather large bag. It was on a corner across from the federal building in Pittsburgh. So ten minutes goes by and no one looking at the bag but me. After 15 minutes I call 911. Took 15 minutes for a patrol car to arrive. No problem but now the bag has been there for close to 30 minutes and no one giving it any attention. I give the officer my information and go to work. Fifteen minutes later I look out my window and they got the entire area roped off and the bomb squad called out. Turns out it was actually two bags full of clothes. I talked to some Federal Protection Service Police Officers later that day and they said it was good I called it in even though it was a false alarm.
Very similar to what I'm concerned about.
It sounds like we're screwed.
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