Pittsburgh bomb squad inspects backpack at Forbes and Braddock

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It seemed like something out of a comedy, but the Pittsburgh bomb squad wasn't laughing when it arrived at a Regent Square apartment Thursday morning to find a backpack with the word "timebomb" on one of the straps.

The backpack was found on the stoop outside the apartment building at 7619 Forbes Ave. Bomb squad Detective Carlos Schrader said the words were printed on something that looked like a bumper sticker.

But there were no explosives in the bag, and the all-clear was given shortly before 10 a.m.

As it turns out, an East End shop called Timebomb, less than three miles from the apartment in Regent Square, sells merchandise, including stickers, with the store's name, said owner Brian Brick.

Mr. Brick said Thursday afternoon that he hadn't seen the backpack and wasn't sure whether what appears to be a sticker was purchased at his store. Either way, "It's better to be safe than sorry," he said.

Pittsburgh Zone 4 police said the father of the backpack owner stopped by the station, where the bag was sent after the incident, to pick it up.

It's unclear how police were alerted to the backpack.

Several residents of the apartment building sidestepped or ignored the backpack when they left Thursday morning.

Michael Drain, who lives in an apartment with his wife and infant, said he left for work about 9:40 a.m. and stepped over the bag on his way out, before he was quickly approached by police, already on the scene.

He didn't notice a sticker but said the bag was black with red straps and could have belonged to a teenager, based on the style.

Since the Timebomb store opened 15 years ago, Mr. Brick said he's never known one of his products to prompt the bomb squad.

But the store's name has complicated shipping in the past: Postal inspectors asked the South Highland Avenue shop to discontinue mailing items in brown paper packages that bore the company's name because the parcels were being held for further examination, Mr. Brick noted.

Named after a song by the punk band Rancid, Timebomb merchandise is popular with Pittsburgh rappers Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller, Mr. Brick said.

"We are a positive art community," he said.

mobilehome - neigh_city - breaking

Alex Zimmerman contributed. Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1944. First Published January 31, 2013 3:00 PM


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