Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

Fake bomb triggers evacuation

About 40 homes were evacuated Tuesday morning after a county worker found a 2-foot-long PVC pipe with wires attached to a battery.

Nearly six hours later, a Hillsborough Sheriff's Office bomb squad concluded the pipe was not a bomb _ just something made to look like one.

Robert Helms, a 12-year employee of the county's water department, discovered the device while working in the dried-up retention pond behind the 800 block of Windsor Circle.

He called 911 at 9:44 a.m.

Homes were evacuated and nearby Limona Elementary School moved about 150 students into the media center and cafeteria as a precaution.

Limona students who normally walk or ride their bicycles had to take a bus or wait for their parents to pick them up.

Investigators don't know who built the fake bomb or why. Neither did neighbors such as 50-year-old Jean Hiller.

"All the kids in the neighborhood, we know them, we've never had a problem from them," Hiller said. "Who would think of making something like that?"