Watch where you toss your props, folks, especially if they look like they'd blow something up: a playwright caught the attention of the NYPD Bomb Squad and other top cops this week, after he threw a fake suicide-bomb belt his building's garbage disposal.
The Post reports that 23-year-old West Village resident Ethan Fishbane, a playwright and graduate of the Tisch School at NYU, had been using the prop in his play, "The American Suicide Bomber Association." Fishbane says he didn't think twice about tossing it: "[L]iterally, it’s two blocks of clay ... a calculator that’s cut in half, and some wires from a Gameboy. It’s stupid stuff. And the belt was actually like a workout belt, something I got at a Sports Authority,” he told the Post.
But apparently it was realistic enough to freak out a lot of people, because after the prop was discovered by his building's super, a suspicious package alert was put out and the cops descended: in addition to the NYPD’s Bomb Squad, cops from the Emergency Service Unit and the Sixth Precinct swarmed the area and cleared the street, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force and Arson Squad were put on alert. "Detectives and police were covering Bedford Street," Fishbane, who was packing to move out of his apartment at 14 Bedford Street, said. "They were cutting open garbage bags. The whole street was kind of littered."
Eventually, cops made it to Fishbane's apartment and showed him the prop; he claimed it, and while it doesn't look like he got in any real trouble, it appears Fishbane will be a little more cognizant in the future. "I always joked about doing the show, ‘Oh, I’m going to be put on a no-fly list,’ ” Fishbane said. “[But] I never ran into any trouble. And then, of course, this happened. So I won’t be writing any more shows about suicide bombers.” Up next - a show about anthrax!