A man who went to a Missouri post office to pick up a novelty phone he ordered over the Internet was alarmed that the package was ticking; it subsequently created a bomb scare.
It turned out that the phone — shaped like Winnie the Pooh — had a feature the customer did not know about: An incoming call causes Winnie's head to spin, and the feature apparently had been activated during shipping.
The ticking that prompted evacuation of the Wright City post office Thursday morning was Winnie's head repeatedly hitting the side of the package, Missouri Highway Patrol spokeswoman Cpl. Julie Scerine said.
Police and members of the bomb squad were called when the man retrieving the package noticed the unexpected sound. Wright City is about 45 miles west of St. Louis.
"It was pretty distinctly ticking," Police Chief Don Wickenhauser said. "And he didn't want to pick it up."
When authorities contacted the sender, he verified that it was nothing sinister.
Scerine said authorities were both amused and relieved when they opened the package.
"I guess the moral of the story is before you send electronics, take the batteries out," she said.
Meanwhile in New Zealand a suspicious package that sparked a bomb scare and evacuation of a New Zealand mail centre was later identified as a harmless sex aid, according to a newspaper report.
An airport x-ray machine alerted staff about suspicious wiring in the parcel from China on Tuesday and it was placed in an explosives safe overnight.
Emergency services were only notified the next morning, when they decided to evacuate the mail centre near Auckland airport.
The New Zealand Herald reports the parcel was later identified as a sex aid.
The incident has prompted a Customs investigation into why emergency services were not immediately contacted, leaving a potential bomb in a safe overnight.