Bomb ‘joke’ leads to arrest, delays ferry passengers

KINGSTON — Kingston Farmer’s market saw heightened business Saturday morning as a bomb threat delayed Kingston/Edmonds Ferry vessels.

Those waiting in Kingston’s ferry holding lanes at about 11 a.m. had an extra hour to grab coffee and explore the market while Edmonds Police, Washington State Patrol Bomb Tech and bomb-sniffing canines searched the Spokane vessel and Edmonds terminal for a possible bomb.

According to Washington State Patrol Sgt. Craig Johnson, while waiting to drive onto the ferry in Edmonds, a woman overheard a man say “I hope you have the bomb hidden well,” as they placed a toolbox in the back of his vehicle.

“This aroused her suspicions and she told an off-duty patrol officer what she heard; but by that time vehicles were already loading,” he said. “(The man) said he didn’t mean it and there wasn’t any bomb but the decision was made to get everyone off the ferry and make a sweep.”

The incident led the arrest of the 30-year-old Seattle man who made the comment. He had an outstanding arrest warrant for a previous traffic incident, Johnson said.

He was booked into King County jail.

“What might have been said in jest, we have to take seriously,” said Terry Peckham, second mate to the “Walla Walla,” the other ferry which was delayed on the Kingston/Edmonds route that day.

Peckham, who has been involved in a couple bomb threat investigations while working for the ferries, said that the delay for this one was relatively fast.

“It doesn’t happen often but when it does it’s memorable because it’s big and affects a lot of people unfortunately,” he said.

Washington State Patrol continues to investigate the incident.

The man will be charged by Snohomish County prosecutors.

Johnson said that this is the perfect example of the successful See Something Say Something program, which was formed in partnership with the Washington State Ferries, U.S. Coast Guard and Washington State Patrol.

“This just shows that we need all the eyes and ears out there that can help us out,” he said. “That’s exactly what happened and we were able to clear the boat very quickly. It just shows that this program works.”

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