'Suspicious toilet' provokes Maryland bomb scare

Courthouse crapper armed with 'electronic device'

A "suspicious toilet" left outside a government building yesterday provoked a full-scale bomb alert in Towson, Maryland.

A security guard spotted the white crapper dumped outside the Old Courthouse at around 8am, and called in the cops. According to the Towson Times, the porcelain loo was packed with "some type of electronic device, along with a cellphone and some notes" and decorated with "a scrap of newspaper, as well as a piece of cardboard with a message written on it".

Baltimore County Police Department spokesman Lieutenant Robert McCullough explained: “The suspect in this case clearly left the items in such a fashion that a reasonable person would suspect it’s a dangerous device.”

Cue bomb squad intervention, with a sniffer dog and remote-controlled robot first checking out the suspect dunny before a human operative moved in to confirm the bog wasn't going to go bang.

McCullough said: “Our hazardous device team, working with police investigators, investigated the situation and found that there was no danger.”

Police later confirmed that they have a suspect, and the Towson Times reckons it flushed him out. The paper says one of the notes attached to the toilet read: "We, the undersigned, are supporters of Duane Gerald Davis (Shorty)."

It elaborates: "The note identified Davis as a 'well respected' area resident, calling on the city of Zion, Illinois, to 'conduct a complete and impartial investigation' into Davis' son's death in 2006."

A quick scoot down to Facebook pinpointed one Duane G Davis – a "Baltimore resident originally from Zion and the owner of Shorty's Underground Pit Beef Shack in Upperco".

Confronted at his Underground Pit Beef, Davis said: "I don't know nothing about it."

However, he did admit he'd "auctioned off toilets to raise money for the homeless for years", with the American Visionary Art Museum being among the owners of his work.

Davis cryptically explained: "They're parting gifts. A toilet ain't racist, it don't care who sits on it, it don't care who uses it."

He then abruptly terminated the interview to head off to court, apparently to renounce his US citizenship prior to upping sticks to "whatever country will take me".

McCullough said whoever left the toilet "could be charged with crimes related to placing a lookalike explosive device in a public space".

The Towson Times has a photo of a relieved bomb squad chap walking away from the disarmed lavatory right here. ®

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