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Navy bomb unit investigates suspicious package on North Whidbey

Jon Kristoffersen, an EOD tech 1st class, uses a Segway vehicle to approach suspicious packages at a home near Oak Harbor Thursday. - Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times
Jon Kristoffersen, an EOD tech 1st class, uses a Segway vehicle to approach suspicious packages at a home near Oak Harbor Thursday.
— image credit: Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times

A man in a green moon suit riding a Segway vehicle helped investigate suspicious packages delivered to a North Whidbey home Thursday.

Members of Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal, the Navy Region Northwest Detachment, responded to the Island County Sheriff’s Office request for assistance in dealing with three suspect boxes delivered to a home in the Rolling Hills community south of Oak Harbor.

The team carefully X-rayed the boxes. Island County Sheriff Mark Brown, who was at the scene, said they didn’t find anything suspicious or potentially explosive, so they eventually opened the packages. Inside they found harmless cardboard.

According to Brown, a resident of Allyson Street returned home Thursday afternoon to find the brown-paper packages on his porch. He was leery of them because he hadn’t ordered anything and the boxes didn’t have return addresses.

The man had recently received threats on an Internet chat room, the sheriff said, which made the packages even more suspicious.

Brown said investigators are looking into whether the boxes were sent as a hoax to scare the resident, though he said they could have been completely innocent packages.

Deputies evacuated homes on the block and sealed off the street while the packages were investigated. Several fire trucks and ambulances staged nearby in case something exploded.

Navy EOD arrived quickly from the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in two vehicles. The team first deployed a small robot to the house and then brought out a larger robot, which sat idle on the road.

A member of the team put on a protection bomb suit, which made him look like a green astronaut. He hopped on a two-wheeled Segway transporter and rode away to the home, where he got X-rays of the packages.

“We are very appreciative of EOD,” the sheriff said. “They only have one team here since the others are deployed abroad.”

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