SXSW: More Than 500 Suspicious Packages Reported to Austin Police

Paul Sullivan (CC BY-ND 2.0)
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Paul Sullivan (CC BY-ND 2.0)
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Paul Sullivan (CC BY-ND 2.0)

SXSW remains on high alert following a pair of package explosions earlier this week.  Now, Austin’s PD is fielding reports of hundreds of suspicious packages sprinkled throughout the city.

The attacks were ruthless, and largely unexpected.  And it wasn’t the most welcomed news for SXSW, where thousands of people are thronging the streets of downtown Austin.

We’ve had a testy exchange with one of SXSW’s press reps, who demanded we ‘fix’ our article raising concerns about the festival’s safety.  Shortly thereafter, SXSW organizers issued a statement saying that Austin’s police investigators found no connection with the event itself.

Hopefully they’re right, though SXSW attendees should probably exercise caution.

The good news (if there is any here) is that the explosions haven’t multiplied.

And nothing has happened within the vicinity of SXSW.  Instead, the packages were littered miles away from the city center, with residential targets.  Of course, events like SXSW are natural targets for gruesome attacks, so reports of package bombs in the vicinity are hardly assuring.

Earlier this week, a pair of bombs hidden inside packages detonated, killing one person.  The pair of explosions have now been linked to an earlier incident involving a package bomb, with investigators suspecting targeted attacks on prominent African-American families in Austin.

Racism.  It’s f—king depressing.

Now, skittish Austin residents are being asked to report packages that may appear suspicious.  That has resulted in reports of more than 500 suspect packages.

At this stage, it doesn’t look like any of the reports constituted credible threats, though a lot fewer packages are being opened.  Sadly that’s probably going to make remote delivery of band schwag and presentation materials into SXSW a lot more complicated.

Also: Austin Police chief Brian Manley has just announced a $65,000 reward for tips leading to arrests in the package explosion incidents.  Tips should be submitted to Austin-area Crime Stoppers (@CrimeStopATX; 512-472-TIPS (8477)) or Texas Crime Stoppers (@TexasCS; 1-800-252-TIPS (8477)).


More as this develops.