Boston Marathon Suffers Bomb Scare On Its Finish Line, Days Before The 2014 Race

On Tuesday, as the city of Boston recognized the anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, a barefoot man with a black veil over his face ran to the marathon's finish line. He dropped a backpack there, yelling "Boston strong! Boston strong!" The police at the marathon took no chances, and in addition to grabbing the suspect, they evacuated the Boylston Street area and brought in a bomb squad.

The bomb squad found a total of two backpacks near the finish line, and for security measures detonated both of them. The verdict? Neither of the backpacks had bombs. Only one of them belonged to the veiled suspect, and it contained a rice cooker filled with confetti. The other backpack, whose owner was unidentified, had photo equipment. A representative of New England Cable News later claimed the second backpack belonged to one of the news crews.

The scene was an chilling reminder of last year's marathon, which also involved two backpacks — both with pressure cookers that caused widespread harm. This year, the police went ahead and arrested the veiled suspect just as a bus was pulling up with Boston Marathon bombing victims J.P. and Paul Norden, brothers who had both lost their legs and had come to this year's marathon to do a relay walk and raise money for prosthetics.

“It was alarming. It was crazy,” the brother's uncle Peter Brown told The Boston Herald. “It was some whack job. Boston’s got to do their job. It happened right after we about finished our walk. The cops grabbed him, but I’m pissed.”

The motive for dropping the backpack has not been determined, but the suspect will be charged with possession of a hoax device and disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct, according to Deputy Police Superintendent Randall Halstead.

Security at the Boston Marathon has been stepped up this year, but his entry with a backpack appears to be an egregious breach, since no one should have been coming near the finish line with a backpack, as security expert Gregory D. Lee told The Boston Herald.

"If they let anyone in there with a backpack on, which I find very surprising, then that would be a breach of security because they had to learn from last year, and that’s all the more reason to not let anyone in there with a backpack,” said Lee. “To have anything that you could carry, any explosive device, shouldn’t be near the finish line.”