Bomb scare just a game

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks An explosives technician from Cannon Air Force Base’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal team walks away from a suspicious package Thursday at the New Mexico Visitor’s Welcome Center on U.S. 60/70/84.

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers

A metal ammunition can left outside the New Mexico Visitor’s Welcome Center on Thursday turned out to be part of a scavenger hunt, police said.

A teddy bear and ordinary household items were found inside.

After performing diagnostic tests that revealed a clock and cylindrical objects inside the can, Cannon Air Force Base Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel forcibly opened the can just after 4 p.m., New Mexico State Police Sgt. Chad Davis said.

The visitor’s center is located between Texico and Clovis on U.S. 60/70/84.

The items displayed through the diagnostic appeared similar to those that might be found in an improvised explosive device, Davis said.

But once opened, the contents of the can — including a teddy bear, a clock, global position satellite coordinates and a candle — led police to believe the can was part of a game known as Geocaching.

The can originated in Utah, police said.

Police initially responded when a Welcome Center employee reported a suspicious package had been spotted by a visitor in the picnic area.

Police called Cannon for EOD support because the ammo can fit the profile of a potentially dangerous device, Davis said.

No one witnessed the can being placed.

Upon determining the nature of the package, Davis said the matter was not criminal and the investigation was concluded.

Placing the mangled ammo can in his patrol car, Davis said, “Better safe than sorry,” explaining the situation lent itself to precautionary measures.

What is Geocaching?

Geocaching is played by following Internet-obtained GPS coordinates leading to a “cache.”

“Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. All the visitor is asked to do is if they get something they should try to leave something for the cache,” according to a Web site explaining the game.

A litany of Web sites on the game boast worldwide play.