- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Richmond fire and police officials cordoned off several blocks of a neighborhood yesterday after discovering devices they think might have caused loud booms in the past three weeks.

Officials said they found several “pressure devices” in the neighborhood surrounding Chatham Drive and Laburnum Avenue in northern Richmond. The devices from 4 inches to 12 inches long, were found in sewer systems and above ground.

Officials characterized the gadgets as “noisemaking devices” and said they would not be dangerous unless someone was nearby at the time they were detonated.

Bill Farrar, spokesman for the Richmond Department of Fire and Emergency Services, said the devices appeared to be made in the United States.

“We really don’t have any indication that this is in any way terrorist-related,” Mr. Farrar said. “That said, we really don’t know what the motivations of the individuals are.”

Authorities said they will continue to look for suspects.

Mr. Farrar said more booms have been reported than the number of gadgets found.

The noises started Nov. 2 and have occurred sporadically since.

City officials said they received 250 calls Sunday afternoon reporting a boom. The shocks have toppled picture frames and alarmed residents.

“We’re certainly not saying [finding the devices] is the solution to the entire problem, but we’re saying this may be a solution to some of the problem,” said Lt. Keith Vida, assistant fire marshal with the Richmond Department of Fire and Emergency Services. “It’s going to be kind of a mystery for a while.”

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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