Suspicious looking putty found by a mechanic under a vehicle that had been reported stolen was not an explosive, Riverside County Sheriff’s officials said late tonight.
The putty was an epoxy used to plug a hole in the vehicle’s gas tank. And a battery, found in an unusual place near the tank, was not a part of an explosive either, sheriff’s officials said.
Concern that the vehicle might be rigged with and explosive arose just before 11:40 a.m. Riverside County Sheriff’s officials said they got a report from a mechanic at Desert European Cars, on the 71-300 block of Hwy 111 in Rancho Mirage.
The vehicle had been stolen out of Palm Springs but had been recovered on Jan. 8 by that city’s police department. The vehicle had been taken to the mechanic early Friday. Late morning, the mechanic raised the vehicle on a lift and found the suspicious arrangement. Given the vehicle’s background he decided to call authorities, officials said.
Deputies closed Highway 111 between Indian Trail and Library Way. They also evacuated nearby businesses while they dealt with the situation. The Riverside County Sheriff's Department Hazardous Device Team was summoned and Cal-Fire set up near the scene.
By 4 p.m., deputies had determined there was no danger and everything the area was cleared and re-opened.