Iowa City Police: Suspicious package was an electronic art piece
Local artist's piece discovered in abandoned newspaper box
Iowa City Police say the suspicious package that interrupted downtown Iowa City Sunday evening was nothing more than a piece of art.
An investigation determined the item found in a newspaper vending machine was an electronic art piece made by local artist and poet Russell Jaffe, a press release said.
According to the release, Jaffe helped police by remembering the local resident who bought his art at a venue in January.
The resident - who police have identified - was using the abandoned newspaper box near the corner of Dubuque and Washington Streets to transfer items between people in a "take something, leave something" set up, the release said.
The resident put Jaffe's art piece into the newspaper vending machine with no malicious intent, police said, but when a private security employee discovered it during the Summer of the Arts Festival, it raised concerns.
The Johnson County Metro Bomb Team cordoned off the area, used a remote control robot to analyze the item, and destroyed it with a water cannon.The resident who placed the art in the box is cooperating with investigators and has requested anonymity.