Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Suspicious briefcase blown up outside Brooksville business

BROOKSVILLE — Authorities detonated a suspicious package outside the PetLuv store on Broad Street Thursday morning, forcing neighboring businesses to close for several hours.

Employees spotted a light brown briefcase partially hidden behind a yellow trash can outside the store about 8 a.m. and called the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, said store manager Cathy Fitzgerald.

"It's very bizarre," she said. "The only thing we usually get dropped off are stray cats."

Several agencies, including the state Fire Marshal's Office in Tampa and the Tampa Bay regional bomb squad, responded. Using a camera-equipped, six-wheeled robotic device nicknamed "Boots," officials exploded the briefcase when they were unable to open it.

"When they finally blasted it, and they did blast it," Fitzgerald said, "they just found briefcase stuff inside it."

Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Cinda Moore confirmed that the contents were not dangerous. She said authorities will continue to investigate whether someone left the briefcase outside the shop as a hoax.

The incident was the third bomb scare in Brooksville since October, when officials blew up a suspicious package at the Hernando County Government Center and a week later destroyed another outside a Sears on Cortez Boulevard.

Capt. Brandon Ball, a bomb technician with the State Fire Marshal, said he encounters about two similar events in the region each week. In all, five bomb technicians were called to the scene.

Jason Holt, owner of Happy Tails Pet Supply Outlet next door to PetLuv, said he noticed the briefcase last night while sweeping the sidewalk but didn't find it odd at the time. His shop was among those evacuated this morning.

"Better to err on the side of caution," he said, as he ate a cheeseburger in a nearby parking lot and waited for authorities to allow him back to work. "I do appreciate them being safe. It's just overkill."

John Woodrow Cox can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or

Suspicious briefcase blown up outside Brooksville business 01/20/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 20, 2011 6:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Coming to Hulu in August: 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure,' 'Saw' movies and more


    Hello, binge-worthy new additions to Hulu. Clue, Clueless and five Saw movies? You spoil us, Hulu.

    Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
  2. Whitman: Hollywood whitewashing raises questions about Jesus' depiction


    I grew up believing in white Jesus.

    A painting on my grandma's wall depicted a blonde, blue-eyed Christ.

  3. Special sorority seeks ways to help their Green Berets and themselves during St. Leo summit


    ST. LEO — Julie Huynh-Rusk lies down on the floor of a St. Leo University conference room, covered by a blanket and a pink eye-pillow.

    Julie Huynh-Rusk, 31, of Seattle, takes advantage of a meditation session at Saint Leo University on Wednesday as part of the Steel Mags Summer Summit. 
The Steel Mags Sorority was founded to help spouses, daughters, mothers, and sisters of  Green Berets. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times]

  4. Watch: Sarasota vlogger goes on viral rant against MTV's 'Siesta Key'


    Looking forward to MTV’s Siesta Key? Well, this Florida native definitely is not.

    Vlogger Louie Carey posted his reaction to MTV's "Siesta Key" in a viral video.
  5. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 23: Of tiny towns, wonderful naps and dreamlike ice cream bars


    Day 23: Murias de Rechivaldo to Foncebadon: 20.8 km, 6 hours. Total for Days 1-23 = 541 km (336 miles)