Petty officer feared bomb was in her car, prompting shutdown, Navy says

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CORONADO, Calif. – A report of a possible bomb in a car at Naval Air Station North Island Thursday prompted a nearly seven-hour closure of the main gate to the base and created heavy traffic backups on surrounding streets while a bomb squad investigated and determined that no such threat existed.

Authorities shut down the entrance to the military installation at Third Street and Alameda Boulevard and evacuated the immediate area about 5 a.m., after an arriving Navy petty officer told security personnel she feared that there might be an explosive device in the trunk of her green Volkswagen Beetle convertible, according to Capt. Scott Mulvehill, commanding officer of Naval Base Coronado.

The sailor, whose name was not released, was detained while investigators with a service dog began inspecting her car, Mulvehill told reporters.

It was unclear what may have led her to believe that there could be a bomb in the vehicle.

“We have no reason to believe this has any link with terrorism,” Mulvehill said.

Gates to the base at First Street and Alameda Boulevard and on Ocean Boulevard remained open during the emergency. Still, sailors who work at the station were asked to contact their commands before heading in for the day.

As of late morning, authorities were still trying to access the car’s trunk, which was “jammed,” the captain said.

“This is a slow process,” Mulvehill said. “We don’t like to hurry explosive-ordnance people.”

Out of “an abundance of caution,” base officials removed children from a daycare center at the military station and took them to a remote location, where they were being turned them over to their parents, the captain told news crews.

The bomb squad found no evidence of explosives in the car or on the owner’s person, and officials reopened the main gate to the base shortly before noon.

The sailor who reported the possible bomb emergency remained in custody Thursday afternoon as investigators continued sorting through the details of the case, base officials said.

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