Whoever placed a “suspicious package” under a car at the College of the Canyons (COC) Thursday wanted to make it look like a bomb as part of a hoax.
The “suspicious package” was found under a car at COC late Thursday afternoon, prompting local sheriff’s deputies to call in the Arson/Explosives Unit.
“Deputies were advised of a suspicious package left under a vehicle in Parking Lot #8 at College of the Canyons,” said Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
Although investigating deputies roped off an area around the parking lot, a commencement ceremony for graduating students of Canyon High School scheduled to take place on the college’s football field was not disrupted or cancelled.
Dave Caldwell, public information officer with the William S. Hart Union High School District where Canyon High School is operated, said the district follows advice from the Sheriff’s Department when it comes to incidents like the “suspicious package.”
“The district takes direction from the Sheriff’s Department in situations like this and they felt it was safe for the graduation to go on as planned,” Caldwell said.
Specially trained members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Arson/Explosives Unit who examined the “suspicious package” found in the college parking lot called it a “well-constructed hoax,” said Lt. Chuck Becerra of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
“They brought out the robot and moved it (package) to a safe location,” Becerra said. “Then the device was rendered inert by the arson/explosives detail.”
Members of the arson/explosives unit safely detonated the device with a bomb quad robot shortly after 9 p.m., just as Canyon High School’s graduation ceremony was ending.
Before the device was destroyed, arson/explosives unit members examined the “suspicious package.”
The device was made to look like a bomb with wires attached to it, according to Becerra.
Signal Senior Staff Writer Jim Holt, Staff Writer Christina Cox and Multimedia Journalist Austin Dave contributed to this report.