Casper police used robots Wednesday to scan the third floor of the student center at Casper College after students reporting finding a white tube with nails.
Police officials quickly announced that the item was not an explosive, rather a misplaced part of a student's assignment.
Device was a student's project, a rain stick that was left behind, Cpt. Steve Freel said.— Nick Balatsos (@Nick_Balatsos) February 11, 2015
The device was found under some furniture on the third floor of the building.
Shortly after officials had started evacuating the campus, a female student called dispatch and told them the suspicious item might be hers. She was missing it.
Her call was forwarded to Freel, and officials sent her a photo of the rain stick taken by the robots. She later confirmed it was her project.
The student's name and age were not provided.
Freel described it as a white cardboard cylinder with nails in the side of it.
"Anybody in the general public would look at it and think it was a (suspicious) device," he said. "We're glad it was not a device, but we have to pull out all of the stops until we can confirm it's not and make sure the public remains safe."
Police dismantled the rain stick to make sure no explosives were inside.
The campus was scheduled to reopen before noon and classes and offices at 1 p.m.
Officials first received a call about the device at 9:38 a.m. and evacuated the campus about 10 a.m.
"Any time we have a possibly explosive device, we take all precautions," said Detective John Hatcher. "If it ends up being a bomb, this is more serious. There wasn't a threat (made), so this makes it more alarming."
Casper College spokeswoman Lisa Icenogle said officials try to register all students on the college alert system and that four texts were sent to students during the initial moments of the incident.
No nearby K-12 schools were affected.
There were some high school and middle students on the college campus for a jazz festival. They walked to the Casper Family YMCA and were then bused back to their schools.
First news: Casper College officials evacuated the student center on Wednesday morning.
A notice on the school's Facebook page said: "A suspicious and potentially dangerous device has been left in the UU building, which is being evacuated."
10 a.m. update: College officials said the Casper Police Department ordered the evacuation of the entire campus "to allow for full investigation and to ensure safety."
10:12 a.m.: Natrona County School District students were taken to the Casper Family YMCA and will then be transported to their schools, according to an NCSD notification. No NCSD schools were locked down.
10:14 a.m.: College officials said students could remain in the dorms or leave campus.
10:16 a.m.: From Star-Tribune reporter Nick Balatsos:
Tanner Nyman, 18, told authorities he found suspicious object in 3rd floor of student union. He described it as a white tube with nails.— Nick Balatsos (@Nick_Balatsos) February 11, 2015
10:23 a.m.: A large number of students are trying to leave the campus but the parking lots and roads are severely clogged.
10:28 a.m.: From Star-Tribune reporter Nick Balatsos:
Antonio Mendez, 38, a disabled veteran, first spotted the device, and grabbed Nyman's attention, who was sitting a few tables away.— Nick Balatsos (@Nick_Balatsos) February 11, 2015
More from Balatsos:
Mendez and Nyman, who were seen being interviewed by authorities, said they immediately called campus security.— Nick Balatsos (@Nick_Balatsos) February 11, 2015
Mendez and Nyman continued:
Nyman said campus security showed up five minutes later. Mendez said, "it felt like forever."— Nick Balatsos (@Nick_Balatsos) February 11, 2015
10:40 a.m.: Nyman said he found the object a little after 9 a.m.
Bomb squad is responding.— Nick Balatsos (@Nick_Balatsos) February 11, 2015
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