Deputy resigns after playing a prank on lieutenant by mailing fake bomb.

6 month ago

A patrol deputy has resigned after reportedly mailing a toy bomb to a Pinellas County Sheriff's Office lieutenant as a joke, causing an evacuation.

Deputy James Piper, 59, resigned after telling his supervisor that he was responsible for sending the toy bomb in a box that when opened showed the word “boom” written on a piece of paper, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Beneath the plastic packaging was a red cylindrical-shaped object and protruding wires.

Lieutenant Joseph Gerretz received a package through inter-office mail from Deputy Piper.

the whole building was evacuated and the Tampa Bomb Squad was called in before officials determined it was not a real explosive device.

a K-9 unit was first called to the scene, but the dog did not alert to the device. The Tampa Bomb Squad then checked the package and confirmed it was fake.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri sent an agency-wide message about the evacuation, Piper notified his supervisor and informed him he sent the package to the lieutenant as a joke, police said.

"The supervisor notified his chain of command," the sheriff's office said. "Deputy James Piper resigned effective immediately."

Piper resigned after the incident. He had been with the force from 1982-2015 and was rehired in January of 2017.