News Article

"Suspicious" Box Poses Question for Arizona Police

Posted by Tim Latshaw

“Nothing of concern” found inside

A gold box with a question mark is the universal symbol of goodies for any gamer, but finding one in the middle of an Arizona neighbourhood prompted a much more careful response from area police.

News station KNXV-TV reported that about 50 people were evacuated on Friday as a precaution while bomb technicians inspected the box, which was just sitting alone in the middle of a Tempe road. The all-clear was given about 30 minutes later as only papers were reported to be inside. What may have been on the papers was not disclosed.

Whether a misunderstanding or a deliberate prank, the recent bombings in Boston left some residents of the Arizona college town shaken by the incident.

Many people love playing with game references. Do you think this situation was treated appropriately?


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User Comments (70)



Arianabtd said:

Oh Lordy.
I think the police did the right thing, I mean who could have known what was in that?
Even though I know what the outside is, I would be a little worried to see a lone box in the middle of the road.



banacheck said:

Great timing with whats going-on at the moment in the US, this just goes to show how stupid people are.



Captain_Balko said:

Don't get me wrong, I find this hilarious, but I can't justify the waste of taxpayer money. On one hand, it's pretty funny, but on the other, it scared the crap out of some poor people.



KingMike said:

I know I've read about another (young) person doing the same thing years ago, and they also called in the bomb squad.



Dark-Luigi said:

The people must have thought it was a bomb huh? I don't blame them after the bombing in Boston...



Bulbousaur said:

This was probably done in completely good taste, but with society at the moment, and with the Boston bombings, it was a really stupid thing to do. The police definitely did the right thing.



Giygas_95 said:

The police did the right thing. It could have had a bob-omb inside.

Regardless, the timing couldn't have been worse.



RR529 said:

I think we don't know enough about whoever left it there, to speculate on what their motives were (it could have been an idiot trying to cause a panic, a kid could have accidentally left it outside after playing with it, or any number of things inbetween).

However, with recent events in mind, the police did the right thing (better be safe than sorry, after all).



GuSolarFlare said:

@shinokami I'd have put a PLUSH Bob-omb in it!(but I guess it was pretty obvious it wouldn't be a real bob-omb, I mean they don't even exist!)
because if you will troll the people you've got to do it with style!
but I would've waited 'till a less tense moment. pranks are cool, but bomb pranks a short while after a real bombing is being a jerk!



NintyMan said:

Yeah, this might have been meant for a good laugh, but it's terrible timing because of the Boston bombing. Any other time would've been fine, but right now it seems like a dumb decision. The police would've been careful anyway, but now even more so.



Vincent294 said:

@DestinyMan Exactly. This kind of joke won't be like "Hey. There's a Mario thing in the road." It will be more like "Like in Boston! Don't open it!" Very bad timing.



WiiLovePeace said:

I was hoping to hear they opened it by throwing a koopa shell at the box & it gave out an invincibility star (all plushies of course)



Silvervisiona said:

Honestly, this is downright offensive given the context that the pranksters are seemingly pulling this off because of the Boston marathon shooting. I guarantee anyone involved would not appreciate this as a prank this soon after the incident. Last week would have been a much different story. It's unfortunately not a laughing matter.



DerpSandwich said:

There isn't a person in this country who hasn't heard of the infamous incident of the question mark boxes. The people who made them and left them around were obviously doing it in good fun, but the police responded as though it were a threatening situation.

But whoever did this knew about that incident, and knew about the recent bombings. And while I'm sure it was just some kids trying to cause a ruckus, you could say that this was an act of "terrorism." They were trying to make people scared just to do it.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that the first people shouldn't have gotten in trouble, but whoever did this should. I hope they get caught.



zoroarkrules25 said:

no offense here but i find that a stupid response for the police. Yes terriosts love terrorism but they wouldn't put it in something they considered obvious or stupid looking. I wouldn't have the cops, yes it is a good response but a little overdramatic if you ask me.



theblackdragon said:

Wow. I hope the papers that were inside are enough to give the police some clues regarding who to track down and give a lesson on timing and public sensitivity. There are some things you just don't do... surely they could've waited a month or two to pull a publicity stunt like this?

@zoroarkrules25: It's easy to call the response 'overdramatic' after the package, box, suitcase, whatever been proven harmless. until that point, though, when things are so tense, there's no harm in being careful when lives are potentially at stake.



Jack_Package said:

It's silly to think that the police overreacted because it looks like it does.

That nut who shot up a cinema appeared to think he was Batman villian. I'm sure it's possible that there a some asspiring 'jokers' fantasising about atrocities, out there.

It would be silly to dismiss it, regardless of the climate.



Megumi said:

Should've been a Bob-Omb plushie or something inside there instead. xD



NintendoFlow said:

Also it was a funny reference Joke, we are not sure what maniacs are out in this world. ALways good to inspect.



FriedSquid said:

Yeah, not cool. Who on earth thinks it would be a good idea to do that at a time like this? I mean, come on. Prank or not, it's just unfunny and to me seems like a waste of time and concern to the police and citizens involved.



Intrepid said:

I will echo everyone else by saying it was not the proper time to be doing this, given recent circumstances.



Wonder_Ideal said:

If this was a prank, I think it was rather tasteless timing. However, we don't know, so it may have been a misunderstanding. Anyways, it was good for the police to be cautious in this case.



Alienfish said:

I think someone was sending a message that gaming doesn't create violence. Violent people create violence.



KnightRider666 said:

It may have been funny, but in reality, with all the messed up things going on in today's world; you don't take chances with people's safety.



DreaddJester said:

Timing was indeed horible. Also, if the pranksters had been smarter they would have put a bit more work into the box and made it look better instead of like a cheap box with a ? on it. I mean, paint it bright yellow at least. If more work had gone into it to make it look better there may have been less chance of it being mistaken for possible terrorist act and instead been seen as humorous.

Personally I'll be waiting for the YouTube video. I mean, who does a prank like this in todays world without the intent of filming it for YouTube??? lol



SomeBitTripFan said:

They could definately waited for a few months. I know I wouldn't approach a ? Block in the middle of the road.



Tsuchiya said:

Well, it's either waste time doing this or get a job and discover a reason why you take on oxygen.
Take your pick.



Skeet102 said:

whoever put that there is a clever dingdong who waited for the wrong time to place it.



BetweenTheTrees said:

i completely understand the caution taken by police. i mean who knows. especially in light of the marathon bombing. can't trust anything anymore.



BetweenTheTrees said:

but regardless of bad taste and wrong timing. still pretty funny. and it made it on the news. good for you guys/guy/girls/girl



Haxonberik said:

With the whole Boston thing still pretty active, I can see the overly cautious approach being justified.

Just glad it was a prank, as I cant even start to imagine how much polititians will cry about videogames making people violent if there wouldve been a bomb in there...



StarDust4Ever said:

They could have gone the extra mile and suspended it in mid air from a street lamp. Who puts question bricks on the ground, anyway?

Please don't respond to my question; it's retorical. There's a question block sitting on the ground in World 1-1 of Mario 3, as well as every Mario Kart course, well ever...

Maybe "?" block spray-painted in yellow on the asphalt would have been more appropriate as a prank, and probably lasted a lot longer too!




The pranksters did set up this shenanigan right after the various incidents in Boston.

On the other hand, some people of Arizona aren't the brightest people... or at least the politicians aren't.

...I don't know :/



MadAdam81 said:

It could have been an accident or a joke, but for many years now, US, Aus, UK and many other countries have been telling citizens to report bags or containers left like this. Even if the Boston bombings didn't happen. police still would have done the same thing, as they should.



3DGamer said:

I would have had 2 boxes one with a plush racoon leaf and the other one with a plush mushroom.



DarkNinja9 said:

lol the first thing i thought when i saw the pic was wth ridler? i mean its something you would see in batman for sure but then i thought oh its mario o.o

but aww not even some toy inside or a coin plushie doll?



Drobotic said:

I sometimes hate how a lot of people don't know about games like Mario and it's items.Seriously,even I wouldn't put explosives in a cute box that has question marks on it.



Drobotic said:

Also,the policemen/bomb squad there must be dumb.Who the H-E-double hockey sticks would leave a bomb out in the open like that?The people who bombed Boston didn't,and no one expected it.If you want to catch criminal masterminds,you need to think like them.



StarDust4Ever said:

@Drobotic: "Who the H-E-double hockey sticks would leave a bomb out in the open like that?"

Maybe the riddler, from Batman forever? (from the 90s movie, not the Dark Knight trilogy) After all, he was nefarious and wore a suit with ? marks all over it...



Ispheria said:

i would have made it a little bit bigger, and put a guy in a yoshi outfit inside of egg in wait, he would have suffocated then, too hot, and no air, hmm...



Tasuki said:

Normally I would have found this funny and even would have said that that was a little overacting on the police departments part, but after what happened in Boston I can see why they handled it the way they did. Thank God that nothing bad happened though but I hope the catch and punish the prankster(s) for this.



retro_player_22 said:

I guess the Mario Kart ppl forgot to pick up one of their Mario Kart fake power-up block after the competition. It was still on the road right?

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