‘Bomb’ outside First Watch stirs panic, but it was homemade dent protector, TN cops say

Screengrab from Murfreesboro Police Department Facebook page

Duct tape and wires hanging off the side of a car in a Tennessee parking lot stirred up commotion Tuesday morning, with many people thinking it was a bomb, police say.

Multiple 911 calls reported what seemed to be a bomb attached to a car parked outside of a First Watch restaurant in Murfreesboro, according to an Oct. 24 news release posted on the city police department’s Facebook. The bomb threat reports prompted a “massive federal, state, and local response,” which turned out to be a false alarm, police said.

The “bomb” shut down the entire block around the First Watch, police said in a Facebook post around 11:30 a.m Oct. 24. Officials advised drivers to find alternate routes and avoid the area.

The Siegel school zone, which contains Siegel Middle School and Siegel High School, was under lockdown while the “bomb” was under investigation, police said. Other businesses in the area were shut down for about two hours, according to police.

But much to investigators’ relief, the “bomb” in question wasn’t actually a bomb.

Instead, it was a makeshift dent protector on a car, police said. On the side of the vehicle was a rubber bumper attached to the car doors with duct tape and wires, which were suctioned to the inside door handle, according to police.

However, the cause of the bomb scare came as a surprise to the car’s owner, who police say was standing across the street with other evacuees the whole time. He was completely unaware his car’s dent protector caused concern until police say they called him on the phone to tell him.

Tennessee Highway Patrol eventually gave everyone the “all clear” after conducting an examination of the man’s car, police said.

The car owner wasn’t charged with anything because “there was no intent to cause harm,” police said.

Murfreesboro is about 35 miles southeast of Nashville.

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