Suspicious package causes chaos on campus

A suspicious package was identified Thursday afternoon on the Carnegie Mellon campus behind Hamburg Hall. The package, a three-foot-tall silver and green metal cylinder, was spotted by another student in the backseat of a white Toyota Echo belonging to Joel E. Chestnutt, a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy. The student immediately called 911.

At about 12:30 p.m., a car belonging to the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police chased the suspicious vehicle into the Forbes Avenue driveway and pulled it over in front of Newell-Simon Hall. Shortly thereafter, several unmarked police cars barricaded the suspicious vehicle in front of the Collaborative Innovation Center.

The university did not issue an official evacuation notification, but police briefly locked down the campus while they conducted an investigation.

The Allegheny County Bomb Squad, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Carnegie Mellon University Police, and University of Pittsburgh Police were all present on the scene.

The bomb squad investigated the package and confirmed that it was a facsimile of a weapon of mass destruction. Though the squad declared the package harmless, the squad also checked the interior of Hamburg Hall and used bomb-sniffing dogs to ensure that there were no hidden bombs in the area.

Chestnutt was arrested by the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and charged with disorderly conduct and possession of a facsimile of a weapon of mass destruction. He faces a preliminary hearing on Thursday.

Students on the walkway between the Collaborative Innovation Center (CIC) and Hamburg Hall were detained inside the CIC, according to a student. The student and her co-worker were only able to exit the building when an employee of the CIC showed them how to exit the building through the garage.

Police also rerouted traffic on Forbes Avenue between Craig Street and Morewood Avenue.

At about 2:20 p.m., Police confirmed that the bomb threat was negative and cleared the area.

University Police declined to comment on the situation.