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Toyota Bomb Hoax: Was It Real?

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On: Fri, May 21, 2010 at 9:19AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Toyota Bomb Hoax: Was It Real?

If you have been reading recent automotive news, you may be confused about exactly what Toyota's new "crisis" is. Rumors about bomb threats and closing down Toyota plants across the country are all over the internet, but what really happened? Did Toyota get threatened by a mentally unbalanced consumer who couldn't take the thought of having to getting another Toyota model serviced for recalls? Well, apparently not…

The perceived “crisis” for Toyota was discovered recently when, according to the Associated Press, Toyota "received four fake bombs through the mail since Friday. The first suspicious package arrived at Toyota America’s headquarters in Erlanger, Kentucky on Friday, followed by similar packages delivered to the company’s West Virginia and Texas production facilities on Monday. The latest package was addressed to Toyota’s Princeton, Indiana plant, but was discovered before it left the local post office. The post office was evacuated, but a bomb expert later found the package to be a fake.”

News reports regarding Toyota facing a “new crisis” spread like an infectious disease across the country. The packages were said to have carried handwritten addresses that originated from Nigeria, and they were described in detail as containing a 4-inch cardboard tube filled with electronic parts with no attachments, or letters inserted, just the parts.

Similar packages were sent to Toyota plants and offices in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Texas. Both Toyota and law enforcement officials had no idea what could have motivated the bizarre hoaxes and would not comment on their description. “We have no idea. We’re not speculating,” Toyota spokeswoman Kelly Dillon said.

As it turns out, the FBI finally determined where the four suspicious packages originated, and discovered that the boxes were actually filled with relays, wires, and film canisters. The package was sent by an engineer in Nigeria who was hoping to get his idea for a new turn signal across to the Japanese automaker’s research and development division; looks like his plan worked! According to investigators the chemicals in the film canisters have common properties with elements that make up bombs, which is what triggered the dogs (who sniffed the packages) to sound the alarm.

The FBI stated that the sender of the packages will not be tracked down and no charges will be filed against the would-be Toyota engineer. In my mind, only one question remains: did the Nigerian man get hired for the job?

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