By: Mark Fitzgerald
An Associated Press reporter was detained briefly Thursday when security officers discovered a fake bomb in the trunk of her car as she arrived for work at the Miami AP bureau, which is located at the Federal Reserve Bank branch.
The reporter, 27-year-old Miranda Leitsinger, was released after several hours. Miami-Dade County police first thought the phony bomb — which resembled two sticks of dynamite lashed together with a timing device — had been planted in the reporter’s trunk by someone. Further investigation revealed that the device belonged to the previous owner of the car, who worked in movie production, said Jack Stokes, a spokesman for AP headquarters in New York City.
Circumstances of the device’s discovery remain unclear, Stokes said. A first AP report, quoting Miami-Dade police, said the device was in plain view in the trunk. “But it must have been hidden away in the trunk,” Stokes aid. “It turns out the previous owner of car was aware of this thing, but didn’t realize it had been left in the car, and Miranda had not found it in the car before.”
Stokes added: “Miranda has been cleared of everything. It turns out it was not a hoax, not anyone trying to set her up.”
The Federal Reserve branch has been searching cars entering it lots since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.