When security guards found a canvas bag outside a federal building in downtown Detroit last February they stashed it at the security desk for safekeeping -- not realizing that the tool bag contained a bomb.
The explosive device sat at the main security desk for three weeks; while, according to CNN, security guards twice attempted to X-ray the bag and even shook it to find out what was inside. A federal inspector conducted four routine checks of the security station without noticing the unidentified package containing an IED.
The bomb didn't go off, but a new report from the Homeland Security Department's office of Inspector General excoriated the security staff at the Patrick V. McNamara Federal building, as well as the guard's employer, DECO, Inc. and the Federal Protective Service, the agency overseeing security. The report faults all parties for failing to detect the explosives.
"Although the IED did not explode, it represented a serious risk to the safety and security of the building," the report found.
The Associated Press says three guards have lost their jobs, a fourth resigned and five others were suspended over the security debacle.
The report says the security guard who first discovered the bag, a full-time Detroit Police Department sergeant, deposited the package in an area marked for storing personal belongings of the security staff and found items. The canvas bag contained a small Sentry safe storing explosive materials.
21 days after the bag was placed at the security desk, two guards grew curious and X-rayed the bag. They alerted federal agents that the bag contained explosives, and the IED was detonated harmlessly later that day.
A Michigan man has been arrested and charged with leaving the bag outside the 27-story building, which houses the FBI's Detroit offices, among other tenants. The suspect, Gary Mikulich, remains in custody and has been found mentally ill and incompetent to stand trial at this time.
The guards' mishandling has caused Homeland Security to issue a national directive on how to deal with unattended suspicious packages, according to the Associated Press. Federal Protective Services are seeking a new contract firm to manage its security services in Michigan.
Bomb threats have continued to make headlines in the Motor City this summer. Two threats within one week, both deemed hoaxes, closed the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and the Ambassador Bridge earlier this summer. In July, FBI agents investigated a bomb threat at Comerica Park as 40,000 unaware Tigers fans attended an evening baseball game.