On the morning of October 24, Sam saw a photo tweeted by John Gibbins from the U-T. The photo depicted two San Diego police officers propping up yellow police tape on two Bird motorized scooters on B Street; it was captioned: “UT building downtown has been evacuated after suspicious pkgs found at entrance. State [Senator Kamala] Harris and SDFD has offices in bldg also. Bomb squad at scene.”
“If it was one (Bird) that I was after, I would just ask them (police officers) if I could grab another one and swap one in its place,” Sam said.
Sam, a Bird mechanic and charger, was picking up Bird scooters on F Street and loading them in the back of his Jeep a few blocks away from where the bomb-scare happened on 600 B Street.
“I’m not hating on the way people are using the Birds,” he said.
“I’ve picked up a Bird that was painted like a candy cane and another one covered in barnacles. If people wanna do goofy stuff with them, I think it’s hilarious.”
Steven works by 6th Avenue, up the street from the U-T building.
“I think it is great the police got to use them (Birds),” he said. “There are so many lately that most of the time they sit there all day.”
I arrived on the scene at around 11 am and there was one police officer left; he said he couldn’t comment regarding what transpired at about 8:15 am. The Bird scooters barricading the streets were returned to the sidewalk.
“It’s kind of random that they’d put the scooters on the street like that and use the caution tape,” said Antoinette who works on the 23rd floor of the Union Bank building across the street from the U-T building.
“I think it’s great that the police used the scooters [earlier],” Christine said, “the homeless use them for tent [frames] like the police did with the tape.”
Christine owns a coffee-cart business in front of the U-T building and was about 12 feet away from five Birds on the sidewalk.
“Recently when I just got on a Bird, I was immediately pulled over and I got a $238 ticket for being on the sidewalk right here,” said Antoinette as she ordered a latte.
By 11:15 am there were still three news camera crews on the scene.
“It’s a false alarm,” Steven said: “San Diego Police Lt. Kevin Wadhams said: “The unaddressed boxes contained: one shoe, two children’s books, one football, one empty bag of chips and one hat. A red air pump was located behind the packages.”