Auto Wreckers evacuated because of bomb scare

by Sarah Moore

Monday October 26, 2009

Photo by Sarah Moore

A suspicious device found inside a 1993 Nissan pickup truck Friday afternoon forced Ken Gold, owner of Standard Auto Wreckers, in Toronto, to evacuate the premises for safety reasons. Police closed down the roads in the area for nearly two hours to investigate the device.

When a customer informed the owner that there were two metal cylinders with wires protruding from them attached to the floor of the truck, Gold decided that the device may be dangerous. He then began taking the necessary safety precautions to ensure that no one would be hurt if the situation escalated.

“Police were called and confirmed that the cylinder was suspicious,” said Toronto police Const. Paul Whitley, who was on duty at the scene. The Emergency Task Force was also called in to investigate the situation further as authorities feared that the device could possibly have been explosive.

After Gold called police he evacuated the premises and sent home 100 employees and customers. The police set up road blocks on Sewells Road, between Steeles and Old Finch avenues, for the duration of the investigation.

Upon closer inspection, authorities determined that the device was harmless but there was some uncertainty as to what the suspicious device actually was.

“It turned out to be some electrical device for shocking purposes,” Gold said. “But where [someone] would use it and why I have no idea and the police couldn’t give me an answer to that either. It was a very strange thing.”

Except for a few employees, and piles of vehicles in various stages of destruction, Standard Auto Wreckers was left relatively deserted for the rest of the day.

“It was a very costly decision,” Gold said. He then joked that maybe next time he would wait until the end of the day to call authorities.

The cost of being safe rather than sorry came at the loss of a day’s wages for the employees.

Robin Russell, one of the few employees who remained on the scene to help secure the yard, said that although he wished he had been sent home to spend the day with his children, he was glad that he did not lose a day’s pay.

But Gold maintained that calling police and evacuating the yard was the right decision.

“God forbid something would have happened,” he said.

The truck containing the suspicious device was brought into the yard about two weeks prior to Friday’s incident by a towing company called Hot Shot Towing. Police are not looking into who owned the car originally and the investigation is now closed.