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UPDATE: LAPD Calls in Bomb Squad to Check Suspicious Item Found at Church in Studio City

Roads were blocked off along the 12300 block of Moorpark Street.

Los Angeles Police diverted traffic off Moorpark Street between Laurelgrove and Whitsett avenues for several hours after a "suspicious item" was found at a church in Studio City.

Police determined that the device was not a bomb, according to Officer Gregory Baek of the LAPD Media Relations Section.

"It's been cleared," Baek told Patch around 5:45 p.m. "There was no bomb found. There were two white objects taped together that looked like a bomb."

Two pieces of PVC pipe with a cellphone wrapped around it was found during a staff meeting at the  at 12355 Moorpark St. No one was answering the phones at the church, where the offices close at 3 p.m.

Bomb squad units from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the LAPD were called in, and just after 4 p.m. a small bang was heard from a block away as the suspicious item was intentionally exploded using a robotic device, police said.

Baek said that officers had not determined if the device was intentionally placed and made to look like  a bomb.

Before the small explosion, a bomb squad officer told onlookers, "In about 10 minutes you are going to hear a pop, but if its any bigger than that, then you guys will know it was a bomb."

The explosion was not loud, which indicated right way that the device was not a live bomb. After the small explosion, several bomb-sniffing dogs were led to the scene.

About 4:45 p.m., the LA Sheriff's bomb squad truck drove away from the scene, and police began to remove cones from Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Moorpark.

Eisenman said the item at the church was found at about 1 p.m.

Actress Sophia Porter, who lives behind the church Twittered, "Police just told us to evacuate due to a bomb scare at the church behind us in Studio City. Definitely not a normal day."

Stay tuned to Patch for more information as it develops.

Heidi Birker February 18, 2011 at 01:45 AM
I live on the 4300 block of Rhodes, and came home at 1:30 p.m.. Half our street was blocked off. I had to leave at 2:30 to pick up my daughter, and when I came back, I couldn't go home. Everyone that was home could stay, but if you left, you couldn't go back! We were all allowed back in about 5:00 p.m. The good thing was that I had a nice chat with the neighbors while we waited. LAPD was extremely nice and gave information while they could.
robin February 18, 2011 at 03:59 AM
When I went out around 12:00 this afternoon, the street was flooded with policecars and firetrucks no traffic was allowed to come into the area. After three bomb squad trucks arrived the ATF and FBI showed up. About 1/2 hour later, the cops came to my building, which is one building away from the church, and suggested we leave. When asked for an explanation they told my neighbors and I a "bomb" was found at the Unitarian Church. The next time the police came around, they ordered us to evacuate. What I heard from the leader of the AA group is a women found something under her chair which looked like two pipes wrapped in wire with a cell phone attached. I didn't see the dogs, but heard the pop - Thank you LAPD for keepingus all safe, while scaring the heck out of us.
Truth February 18, 2011 at 08:12 PM
I've seen weird stuff on the sidewalks outside this church before, thanks to the drunks. Also strange people parked outside. They treat the sidewalks and streets like they own them.
frank February 20, 2011 at 06:33 PM
They said this was found in the AA meeting that was being held there at 12pm. Is That true??
Craig Clough (Editor) February 20, 2011 at 11:50 PM
Yes, our information says that the device was found under a chair at an AA meeting around 12:40 p.m.

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