Fear of music, pt. II

Somebody please wake us when this madness is over. From the New York Times, April 15:

Jazz Lover Fiddling With Bass Causes Bomb Scare on East Side
The easy listening habits of Grantley Richards met with a large police response early yesterday, shutting several Manhattan blocks and causing a brief panic.

The chaos that unfolded on East 67th Street during the morning rush started with a stereo speaker that looked like a bomb. Eventually, the drama ended up involving Slovakian diplomats, the Japanese ambassador to the United Nations and a robot that fires water projectiles.

When it was all over, Mr. Richards’s minivan, where he has listened to much jazz and some reggae, sat covered in police tape, with most of its windows blown out.

A law enforcement official said it was Mr. Richards’s love of bass that caused the problem.

The police gave this account: About 8 a.m., Mr. Richards’s minivan, a Mercury Villager, was parked on East 67th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues, outside the residence of the Japanese ambassador to the United Nations.

A woman who works in a building on the block noticed a strange device inside it, and the police were summoned. The device was a cylinder with wires sticking out if it, and numbers on its display kept changing..

The Police Department’s bomb disposal unit sprang into action, deploying a robot that fired a water projectile through the minivan’s windows and then took X-rays of the interior.

Time passed. Three blocks of Fifth Avenue were shut down, as well as 67th Street between Fifth and Madison. The police developed the X-rays. At some point, some people who worked for the Slovak Republic’s permanent representative to the United Nations ran out of their building and down Madison— to the displeasure of officers trying to keep the area calm — according to a building worker who witnessed the episode, Ron Dikoli.

Determining that the device was not an explosive, the police sent an officer wearing a bomb-resistant suit to recover the thing, which Mr. Richards described later, in an interview at his home in the Bronx.

He said it was a speaker that enhances the bass. “I’m able to enjoy the music the way I like to hear it,” he said.

Of the flashing numbers, he said: “I kind of liked the luminescence of it.”

Mr. Richards, who works as a houseman at luxury hotels, said the police were apologetic, telling him that the city would pay for the damage to his car, which he estimated at more than $1,000.

Of his parking space yesterday, he said, “I’ll probably try to avoid that spot in the future.”

See our last post on fear of music, and paranoia in New York City.