False alarm: Bomb squad called over toy clock in Marshall County

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ind. --The phrase, "if you see something, say something" often refers to suspicious packages in public places. But it applies any time, and Tuesday, a realtor saw something suspicious in a house for sale.

Luckily in this situation, the Marshall County Sheriff's Department confirmed it was a false alarm.

That home on Menominee Drive in West Township is for sale, but Hannah Gibson lived in that house most of her life. Her family moved to Missouri but got the strangest call Tuesday about their old home.

"I get a text from my cousin who's like 'hey, can you get a hold of your mom or dad because there's a bomb squad at your house,'" Gibson said.

The person leading a showing found what they thought was a bomb.

"There was a novelty toy in the house, it was a clock that i guess looked like dynamite. They called the police then all the action ensued," said Phillip Milton, a neighbor on Menominee Drive and Gibson's cousin.

The south bend bomb squad was called to assist the Plymouth Fire Department, who remained on scene throughout the investigation.

"We didn't know at the time what it was-- what the bomb was," Gibson said, "because our house has been vacant for over a year now."

The whole road was blocked off and homes nearby were evacuated, according to neighbors.

"It was very scary because you never know. It is a house that's for sale, it has been emptied. So we didn't know," Milton said. "But as soon as we contacted the owners, they were like, 'no, this is what it is.' They let the police know. They kind of laughed it off, then we waited another hour and a half for South Bend Bomb Squad."

And all along the "bomb" was just a toy.

"It looks exactly like a bomb, like a TNT bomb," Gibson said. "In the back, it has a space where you can put batteries and stuff in it. It's an alarm clock."

"It is literally just a clock that looks like it has round tubes on it," Milton said. "It's just a toy, it's nothing that, if you picked it up from a garage sale where it came from, you wouldn't know that it was a toy."

Despite all the commotion and chaos Tuesday, it was all, luckily, a false alarm.

"I just hope this helps sell the place," Gibson said.

In hindsight, it is known this was not a real bomb threat. However, according to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the realtor who called the police did everything right.

If you see a suspicious item, do not approach, touch, or tamper with that item, and call the authorities immediately.

To learn more about what to do if there is a bomb threat, CISA resources can be found here.

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