Suspicious device on bus a false alarm

LAWRENCEVILLE - An item found on a Gwinnett County Transit bus first thought to be an explosive was found to be nothing but a metal weight, authorities said.

A transit employee found a recycling bag under a bus seat Monday morning and reported it to a transit supervisor who called 911, said Gwinnett County Department of Transportation transit director Tim Collins.

"The employee did exactly what they were supposed to do," Collins said of the false alarm. It's policy for employees to notify a supervisor and for the supervisor to contact authorities if a suspicious item is found, Collins added.

The bus was parked at the transit authority building located at 703 Scenic Highway in Lawrenceville. It was awaiting a scheduled maintenance session when the metal item was found, Collins said.

Gwinnett County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Thomas Rutledge said firefighters, along with Gwinnett police Explosive Ordnance Disposal officers, were called to the scene shortly after 8 a.m. to examine the item, which was found to be some type of metal weight.

"It was described as a metal weight or a counter balance, not an explosive or harmful device," Rutledge said. "Just a piece of metal."

Collins said the metal item appeared to have been left on the bus by a passenger. He said the bus was last on route Saturday.

"One of the officers speculated someone was taking it (the weight) to be recycled," Rutledge said.

Rutledge suggests anyone who finds any type of suspicious package or device notify authorities and never try to transport an item.

"It's always safer just to leave the object in place and let authorities come to you," Rutledge said.