On Campus: Ooops, This Bike Wasn't a Pipe Bomb

Mar. 3--ATHENS, Ohio -- Ohio University police need to brush up on their obscure folk-punk bands.

An OU officer on patrol saw a bike in a busy area of campus early yesterday that sported a sticker reading, This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb.

Buildings were shut down. The Columbus Division of Fire's bomb squad drove down to investigate. Authorities used a high-powered water spray on the bike, and then pried it apart with a hydraulic device.

Hours later, police learned that the sticker referred to the Pensacola, Fla., band This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb and had nothing to do with the bike's contents.

The ordeal not only cost graduate student Patrick K. Hanlin his bike, but also earned him a misdemeanor charge of inducing panic.

The 28-year-old declined to comment yesterday.

The officer found the bike about 5:30 a.m. outside a campus snack shop. Hanlin later identified himself as the owner of the bike -- what was left of it, anyway -- and explained what the sticker meant.

Despite his cooperation, OU spokesman Jack Jeffery said yesterday afternoon that the student was charged criminally.

At a news conference shortly after the all-clear was announced, Dean of Students Terry Hogan said the sticker was benign. The concern was that it was on a bike.

So if it had been stuck on a telephone pole, none of this would have happened?

"I think that's probably right," Hogan said.

Fire officials cordoned off a large section of campus and closed down four buildings while they investigated. It took them three hours to determine the bike was not set to explode.

Hogan said the bike was in a fairly high-traffic area of campus, but the buildings affected had not yet opened for business when it was found.

"I think the response was an appropriate one," Hogan said.

OU President Roderick McDavis agreed.

"We don't take this as a joke," he said.

Sophomore Mike Fisher, who lives in a dorm less than 50 yards from the site of the incident, said students weren't told what was going on yesterday morning. But he doesn't blame Hanlin for what happened.

"Honestly, I just think it's the cops being ignorant and taking things so literally," Fisher said.

Hogan, in a news release, encouraged other OU students and fans of the band not to display the band's name in a way that could lead to safety concerns.

The band's name prompted police in Austin, Texas, to detain a woman who had the same sticker on her bike at a peace rally in 2001. She was released after officers verified that the band exists.

Dispatch reporter Aaron Marshall contributed to this story.


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