Suspect threw fake bomb at recruiter

A robot was used Tuesday morning to inspect a suspicious bag.


TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) –  A suspect threw a fake bomb at an Armed Forces recruiter Tuesday morning, according to the commander of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad. The Bomb Squad responded to the Armed Forces Recruiting Center, at 2820 Sheridan Drive, in the Town of Tonawanda after police were called about a man acting very bizarre.

After throwing the briefcase, which contained wires and electrical components, at the recruiter, the man left his car running in the parking lot and walked away. Police picked him up and brought him to the Erie County Medical Center for a mental evaluation.

The Bomb Squad examined the briefcase and vehicle and found no real threat. Residences and businesses in the area had been evacuated as a precaution.

Police gave the all-clear signal at 1:30 p.m. Sheridan Drive is back open to traffic, after being closed from Eggert Road to Parkhurst Boulevard because of the incident.

Suspect left car behind when he took off on foot. The suspect's car has a red kayak on top of it.
Suspect left car behind when he took off on foot. The suspect’s car has a red kayak on top of it.

Town of Tonawanda Police say a lone man walked into the center and gave a Marine recruiter a hard time. This happened around 8:35 a.m. Police say he made unusual, illogical comments while walking out of the center. He left his car in the parking lot and took off on foot.

The man left his briefcase, that had wires sticking out of it, in the center. The bomb squad commander said he wanted recruiters to think he had a bomb in his briefcase. The bomb squad used a robot to examine the bag, while everyone stayed a safe distance back away from the building.

Details about the incident have been updated since earlier reports that stated the incident may not have been a threat.

The incident happened at a recruiting station, so federal authorities are involved. The FBI has been briefed on all of the events and will evaluate whether federal charges may be appropriate.

The suspect is a man in his mid-20s and lives in North Tonawanda. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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