A fake grenade was found in the mail at 2 World Financial Center on Thursday morning, forcing hundreds of workers out of their offices before police determined the weapon was just a novelty item.
The phony grenade that caused the panic was mounted on a plaque that read: “Complaint Department. Take a number,” cops said.
A mailroom worker spotted the worrisome object about 11 a.m. Thursday within an X-ray image of a UPS package, police said.
The intended recipient works for the U.S. headquarters of Nomura Holdings Inc., a Japanese bank.
“A Nomura employee was responsible for bringing an inappropriate item into the building and that person has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation,” a spokesman for Nomura, the Japanese investment bank, said.
Officers from the 1st Precinct responded to the scene and called the NYPD’s Emergency Services Unit for help. The Bomb Squad was also brought in.
“When you look at this X-ray, you clearly see a hand grenade, like a pineapple World War II hand grenade,” said Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the NYPD’s top spokesman.
The employee ordered the grenade plaque off the Internet and intentionally had it delivered to his workplace without thinking of the consequences, a source said.
People who worked inside the 44-story skyscraper said an intercom announcement ordered everyone to leave the building because of a police investigation downstairs.
About 12:20 p.m., police determined the suspicious package “was a grenade-like novelty item,” Browne said.
Other businesses within 2 World Financial Center include Merrill Lynch, Deloitte, OppenheimerFunds and Commerzbank.
The World Financial Center’s four towers are across West Street from the 9/11 attack site.