Employee in World Financial Center Tower Toy Grenade Incident Placed on Leave

A spokesman for the financial-services firm where the employee works would not identify the person involved

Friday, Apr 13, 2012  |  Updated 9:09 AM EDT
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Toy Grenade Forces Evacuation at World Financial Center

A World Financial Center building across the street from the World Trade Center was evacuated Thursday because of a suspicious package that turned out to contain a toy grenade, police said. Brynn Gingras reports.
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The employee who had a novelty grenade shipped to a World Financial Center office, forcing a mass evacuation when the "suspicious" item was discovered during routine screening, has been placed on administrative leave, a spokesman for the person's firm confirms. 

Peter Garritano, spokesman for Japanese investment bank Nomura Holdings, which is headquartered in the tower, would not identify the employee or the person's position but did confirm the individual has been placed on leave. A statement will be released later Friday, Garritano said. 

The havoc began Thursday afternoon when a private security guard noticed what he believed to be a "suspicious" item in a package during an X-ray screening at 2 World Financial Center, a 44-story building with 2.7 million square feet of office space. 

The item, which came through the mail, turned out to be a novelty grenade mounted on a plaque that read "Complaint Department. Please Take A Number," police said. 

People were let back into the building about an hour and a half after police were called. Though precautionary evacuations are not uncommon in such buildings, employees had to act as if the potential threat was real. 

Octavio Diaz was wearing a neon yellow backpack as he helped lead his co-workers out of the building to a nearby volleyball court, where they waited until the all-clear. 

"Stuff like this happens, so you've got to take it seriously," he said. "We're ready to go." 

The World Financial Center complex is made up of four glass and copper-crowned towers and encompasses more than eight million square feet of office space.

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