“What it looks like is the intention was good by whoever left it,” a Washington State Patrol trooper speculated. “I don’t know if it was left for the ferry personnel, or whatever.”
Your aunt may claim her fruitcake is the bomb, but few holiday treats are ever handled like an actual explosive.
A Washington State Patrol trooper noticed something amiss at Seattle’s Colman Dock lobby Tuesday morning — a single gift-wrapped package beneath a decorative Christmas tree.
The unmarked package was deemed suspicious, so troopers and ferry staff evacuated groups of passengers beginning at 10:10 a.m. Incoming ferries were kept away.
The Seattle police bomb squad was summoned, and the mysterious gift was determined to be a fruitcake.
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After about 35 minutes, the lobby reopened, though the scare contributed to midday ferry delays.
The package was unlabeled, so troopers had no clue why somebody left behind a fruitcake, said Trooper Kevin Fortino, of the Washington State Patrol’s homeland-security division.
“What it looks like is the intention was good by whoever left it,” Fortino speculated. “I don’t know if it was left for the ferry personnel, or whatever.”
However, he said officers found no gift tag or card attached to thank ferry crews for their holiday labors.
Perhaps some traveler found the ferry-terminal tree a convenient spot to abandon an unappreciated dessert.
State troopers with gunpowder-sniffing dogs comb ferry terminals as routine surveillance against potential attacks. The ferry system was slowed this spring by an incident at Edmonds in April, where a stray package with wires in it was spotted by a ferry worker, but bomb dogs found no explosives.
In Tuesday’s incident, the mere discovery of an out-of-place box prompted a call to the bomb squad instead of sending in a dog and handler to investigate, Fortino said.
“It’s a good reminder not to leave your packages or your luggage unattended, even if you are trying to leave behind a fruitcake,” ferry spokesman Ian Sterling said.
Fruitcakes were once stored in ancient Egyptian tombs, to sweeten the afterlife. So history has proved they’ll survive a 60-minute voyage from Bremerton across the Salish Sea.