'Suspicious' light devices found in Seattle

'Suspicious' light devices found in Seattle »Play Video
SEATTLE (AP) - Some of the same blinking electronic devices that threw a scare into the city of Boston on Wednesday have been found and removed from Seattle and several suburbs, police said.

The removal was low-key here.

"We haven't had any calls to 911 regarding this," Seattle police spokesman Sean Whitcomb said Wednesday.

The devices turned out to be a publicity campaign for a late-night cable cartoon. Most depict a character giving the finger.

Two men were arrested Wednesday night in the Boston scare, Massachusetts state Attorney General Martha Coakley said.

Peter Berdovsky, 27, of Arlington, and Sean Stevens, 28, of Charlestown, were each arrested on one felony charge of placing a hoax device and one charge of disorderly conduct, state Attorney General Martha Coakley said.

Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner Inc. and parent of Cartoon Network, said the devices were placed in 10 cities as part of a promotion for the TV show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," a surreal series about a talking milkshake, a box of fries and a meatball.

Seattle police were in contact with the company responsible for using the devices as advertising, police spokeswoman Debra Brown said.

It wasn't immediately known how many of the devices were distributed in this area, but police believed the number to be fewer than 20, Whitcomb said, adding those responsible had been asked to remove them from public locations.

At least seven devices were found in two northeast Seattle suburbs.

One was found Tuesday by a Woodinville Public Works Department crew working on a rail trestle over State Highway 202, Woodinville Police Chief John McSwain said.

The crew took it down "and didn't even bother to call us" because the device didn't appear threatening, he said.

After news of the Boston scare, and a call from Seattle police relaying information on the location of other devices, McSwain said he and other officers removed three more on Wednesday.

Three devices were removed in Bothell.

"They're being taken down and collected as evidence at this point," Bothell police Capt. Denise Langford said. "They'll be booked into evidence, destroyed or returned to the marketing company."

"In this day and age, whenever anything remotely suspicious shows up, people get concerned. And that's good," King County sheriff's Sgt. John Urquhart said. "However, people don't need to be concerned about this. These are cartoon characters giving the finger."

"The packages in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger," Turner said in a statement, issued a few hours after reports of the first devices came in.

It said the devices have been in place for two to three weeks in 10 cities. Besides Seattle and Boston, they were New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Atlanta; Portland, Ore.; Austin, Texas; San Francisco; and Philadelphia.

An angry Boston Mayor denounced Turner Broadcasting for taking hours to fess up and come clean about the odd ad campaign.

"At 7:30 tonight they put a press release out. Give me a break," said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

Turner Broadcasting said it was notifying police of all the locations. The company apologized and said it regretted the devices were mistaken as dangerous in Boston.

The marketing firm that put them up has been ordered to remove them immediately, said Turner Chairman Phil Kent.

But Menino says that apology won't be enough.

"We could use all the tools we have to make sure that not the guy who we arrested today pays, but the people in the board room have some obligation also in this issue," he said.

The Boston attorney general is considering filing charges against the two arrested men as well as Turner Broadcasting.