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Suspicious package was fake foot-long plastic penis

Southwest News-Press | May 24, 2005
By SARAH LUNDY

The “suspicious package” that caused Interstate 75 and Daniels Parkway to be shut for more than an hour Monday was not an explosive pipe bomb — but rather wrapped-up plastic foot-long penis.

“Someone took construction-grade plastic, molded it into a penis and wrapped it with duct tape,” said Lee County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Charles Ferrante.

“They wrote ‘Happy Father’s Day’ on the duct tape.”

The device was first described by the sheriff’s office as a prosthetic penis. Later, it cops described it as a paper sculpture made to look like a penis.

"(The rumor that it was actually a vibrator) just took a life of it's own," said Cpl. Larry King.

Ferrante later spoke with a member of the bomb squad who described it in more detail.

“Somebody molded it to look like a penis,” Ferrante said. “It was not detected until the suspicious package was removed.”

A motorist called the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Monday shortly after 3 p.m. about a suspicious package on the side of the road under the northbound Interstate 75 overpass.

The cylinder was more than a foot long in a plastic bag and wrapped with duct tape. It looked like pipe bomb and was in a position that could cause structural damage.

Deputies arrived and alerted the bomb squad, which used a robot to disable the cylinder. The north- and southbound lanes of Intestate 75 were closed for about an hour between Alico Road and Colonial Boulevard. Traffic was blocked on Daniels Parkway at the overpass for an hour while the device was removed.

The closures left the heart of Lee County's road system without any vehicles as rush hour approached. After the drama ensued there were back-ups for about 15 minutes, but then traffic cleared to its normal levels.

I-75 is the main north-south artery in the region and Daniels is one of the major east-west corridor in south Fort Myers, connecting Gateway, Lehigh Acres and Southwest Florida International Airport with the region's retail power centers and tens of thousands of homes along the way.

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