Report: Northeastern Explosion May Have Been Staged

Officials suspect employee lied to investigators, sources say
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 14, 2022 6:04 PM CDT
Report: Northeastern Explosion May Have Been Staged
In a still photograph taken from video, a Boston Police bomb squad officer motions for members of the media to step away from police vehicles on the campus of Northeastern University, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022, in Boston.   (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi)

Federal officials are examining whether the employee who reported an explosion at Northeastern University may have lied to investigators and staged the incident, law enforcement officials said Wednesday. Investigators identified inconsistencies in the employee’s statement and became skeptical because his injuries did not match wounds typically consistent with an explosion, said one official. The officials could not discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. The Northeastern staff member said late Tuesday the hard plastic case exploded on the campus in Boston, causing minor injuries, according to authorities.

The case contained a rambling note that railed against virtual reality and also referenced Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, a law enforcement official said. No explosive materials were found, and they do not believe the package was sent through the US Postal Service, the official said. The official described the case as a "Pelican-style" case. Pelican is a company that makes hard cases designed to protect sensitive equipment. A spokesperson for the FBI office in Boston declined to comment Wednesday, saying the investigation is "still very active and fluid." Northeastern, in a message posted on its website Wednesday, said the campus is safe.

"Events such as the incident that took place on our Boston campus last night can create or heighten anxiety for many of us," said the post. "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." The employee who reported the explosion works at Holmes Hall, home to the university's Immersive Media Labs, which according to its website includes technologies for design, development, and exploration of virtual worlds. (More Northeast stories.)

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