LYNDEN, Wash. – A practical joke shut down the U.S.-Canadian border crossing here for nearly four hours just as the weekend was getting under way.
A 42-year-old Bellingham man was stopped at the border about 4:40 p.m. Friday, said Corporal Dale Carr of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
During an inspection of his vehicle, “a crude device thought to be an explosive” was found under a seat, Carr said in a news release.
The inspection area and a duty-free shop were immediately evacuated, spokeswoman Paula Shore of the Canadian Border Services Agency said.
The RCMP closed southbound Highway 13 to the Aldergrove crossing, and, at Canada’s request, U.S. officials closed their side of the border to vehicles northbound on Highway 539.
The RCMP bomb squad arrived about 7:30 p.m.
Investigators subsequently determined that the “suspicious device” was harmless, Carr said.
It turned out the man’s co-workers in Olympia had put ball bearings into a metal tube and crimped the ends. They placed the device in his vehicle to annoy him, the idea being that “it would create a rattle that the driver would find difficult to locate,” he said.
The man was questioned and released. He will not face charges, Carr said.
It will be up to U.S. authorities to decide whether his co-workers face charges, Shore said.
“It’s not a good idea to play practical jokes at the border,” said Shore, clearly not amused.
The border reopened about 8:30 p.m.
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