Bomb squad blows ravioli can at the Pittsburgh Marathon

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA Police said they are trying to determine whether someone intentionally placed a microwave oven containing a dish of ravioli near the Pittsburgh Marathon's finish lines to disrupt the race.

City police Sgt. Matthew Gauntner said investigators hope to review footage from surveillance cameras near the 11th Street sidewalk outside the Greyhound bus station, where a passer-by reported the white microwave to authorities about 8:20 a.m. Sunday May 2, 2010.

If investigators determine the microwave was put there intentionally to disrupt the race, Gauntner said police would work with the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office to determine charges.

"We need to determine first if it was intentional," Gauntner said.

Detective Fred Crawford, a bomb squad technician, X-rayed the contents of the microwave.

"It actually did look like there was some type of a device in there, something along the nature of a pipe bomb, and that's what concerned us," Gauntner said.

Crawford used the department's bomb-detonating robot, Bulldog, to blow apart the microwave. Gauntner said there was no explosive device or explosive residue inside. Police later said it contained a dish of ravioli.

Officials moved a finish line, evacuated people from an 850-foot safety zone and suspended the race in one section for about 10 minutes while they tried to determine whether the microwave was a bomb.

The incident happened the morning after a bomb scare in New York City's Times Square.

"We don't know if it was left out there inadvertently or on purpose," Gauntner said. "The techs did a very good job, they were very quick.

"With what happened in New York City, we had to take all the necessary precautions. There were thousands of people at that finish line."

Credits - This true article, "Intent at issue in marathon's microwave oven incident", was published on the "Pittsburgh Tribune-Review".

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