A prankster at Brigham Young University left a gift addressed to President Rex Lee beneath a Christmas tree in the Wilkinson Center that police treated as a possible bomb Wednesday morning.
After X-raying and twice shooting it with a water cannon, the Provo police bomb squad determined it was not an explosive. University police evacuated the student center about 7:30 a.m. as a precaution. Students and employees were allowed back in about 10 a.m.The unwrapped "gift" was an old RCA video cassette recorder with a postcard taped to it reading, "Merry X-mas" and "to: Rex Lee." A cassette tape in the machine was labeled, "Top 100 ways to be charitable."
BYU police Capt. Mike Harroun said a student turned himself in to the administration just before 10 a.m. after hearing that the Wilkinson Center had been evacuated. The man received the VCR as a white elephant gift Tuesday night and said he put it there as a joke, Harroun said.
A custodian found the VCR in the center's east lounge and alerted police about 7:30 a.m.
BYU held a seminar two months ago to help mail workers and other employees recognize bombs. They were also advised to notify police about any peculiar devices.
"We have to take it as a serious situation," Harroun said. "It's better to be overreactive than not be prepared." Most suspicious devices discovered on campus don't turn out to be bombs.