Dave Frank
Appeal Staff Writer

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September 16, 2008
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Suspicious pipe part of online treasure hunt

A bomb squad investigated a suspicious pipe dropped off in front of a Carson City business Tuesday only to find the item was part of an electronic treasure hunt.

A man in a van without license plates assembled the object around 8 a.m. and put it in the bushes in front of SE Drywall on Gordon Street behind Slotworld near the corner of Highway 50 East and College Parkway, according to police.

Eric Sjogren, owner of the business, said he called the police to be safe, especially with "the state of the world at this point."

The Tahoe Douglas Bomb Squad investigated the pipe only to find it was part of geocaching, a game described on its site, www.geocaching.com, as "a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with (Global Position System) devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online."

People can go onto the Web site and find information about hidden containers close to them. There are over 650,000 geocaches around the world, according to the Web site.

"Quite a few people in this world have too much spare time," Sjogren said. "We're not one of them."

Messages left with Groundspeak Inc., which runs www.geocaching.com, were not returned Tuesday.

Roger Wheeler, a Douglas County deputy with the bomb squad, said investigators have to take all calls seriously, and this one especially sounded suspicious.

The squad used a small explosion that would have disabled the object if it had been a bomb, he said, and a plastic bag came out identifying it as from geocaching.

Other recent calls for the bomb squad include a grenade found in Hope Valley, a suspicious briefcase at Harvey's casino and old explosives in a house on Johnson Lane.

- Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Sep 16, 2008 08:38PM Published Sep 16, 2008 08:38PM Copyright 2008 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.