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Bomb alert in Boston a ‘toon hoax

From staff and wire reports
Newsday, Thursday, February 1, 2007

A promotion for the cartoon “Aqua Force? featuring the characters of a talking milk shake, a box of fries and a meatball, resulted in a bomb alert in Boston. Turner Broadcasting, a parent of Cartoon Network regrets that the light boxes depicting a character giving the finger were mistakenly thought to pose a danger. Although the illuminated electronic devices were planted on bridges and other public areas among 10 cities in the past few weeks, it was only this week that 4 complaints were lodged in Boston, resulting in the city closing bridges, subways, highways and part of the Charles River until the boxes were deemed harmless. New York City officials stated that they were aware of the boxes but received no complaints.

Boston Scare Case Could Be Hard to Prove
By Mark Jewell
Associated Press, Friday, February 2, 2007

The AP account of this story focuses on the two men, Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens, who were arrested on felony charges of intent to scare. They face up to five years in prison if convicted. The men were paid to plant the lighted devices to promote “Aqua Force? in a guerilla marketing tactic.


Prank penalty Update March 7, 2007

The bomb scare in Boston that was really a cartoon advertising campaign motivated Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., along with Sens. John Kyl, R-Ariz. And Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. to introduce legislation this week increasing the penalty for those who commit fake acts of terrorism and expanding the list of punishable offenses, today's Star Tribune reported.