CWS 2023: Bomb squad called to investigate suspicious item ahead of safety briefing

Omaha Police determined the abandoned item was a metal ammunition container repurposed as a toolbox.
A suspicious item found near a trash can in downtown Omaha prompted the bomb squad to investigate as CWS practices continued.
Published: Jun. 15, 2023 at 3:46 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Anyone who has been around the stadium during previous College World Series knows how big of a police presence there is. That came in handy this morning when someone reported a suspicious package next to a fan entrance.

Omaha authorities investigated a suspicious item downtown near the College World Series on Thursday morning, but X-ray analysis revealed it wasn’t dangerous. But it wasn’t there an hour earlier — and no one was around to claim it — so the bomb squad came by to take a closer look at the item that had been placed next to a trash can.

The report from a MECA Omaha employee — they hadn’t noticed the item there when they walked by about an earlier earlier — came in just before a 10 a.m. Omaha Police media briefing on security measures.

The all-clear was given just after 10:30 a.m., not long before the Virginia team arrived at the Charles Schwab Field.

As fans watched CWS teams take infield and batting practice Thursday morning, many were oblivious that the OPD bomb squad was just outside the stadium looking over a suspicious device.

For an hour, security closed the right field entrance to Charles Schwab Field; fans were told to use another gate to get into the stadium.

“We take it seriously because we don’t know,” OPD Capt. Mark Desler said. “We find a lot of backpacks and bags set down. We treat them like they are dangerous because we have to.”

It turned out that the item noticed Thursday morning — a metal box that is usually used to carry military ammunition — was being used as a toolbox. No bomb-making equipment; just hammers and wrenches.

“I’m sure someone will call wondering where their tools are,” Desler said. “We’ll have a conversation and let them know it’s not a good idea to leave that stuff.”


Officials expect a lot of fans will fill the seats at Charles Schwab Field, and there will be a lot of law enforcement in and around the stadium to keep everyone safe.

Think about it: There are upwards of 100,000 within six blocks of the stadium at time during CWS.

“We want to be vigilant to make sure we have people watching all the stadium — Omaha Police officers, Douglas County, some state, and even the FBI,” Roger Dixon, president and CEO of MECA Omaha, told 6 News earlier this week.

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2023 College World Series

Omaha Police are encouraging vigilance during the College World Series — “if you see something, say something” — reporting anything suspicious to officers or via text message.

“Visitors requiring assistance within the stadium may contact the Charles Schwab Field Omaha Guest Services department via text message, by texting the word “Omaha”, followed by the seat location and issue, to the number 69050,” the release states.

The Omaha Police bomb squad was called in to investigate after an abandoned item was found near a trash can ahead of a media security briefing on Thursday.

Visitors requiring urgent or emergency assistance should however just call 911 or alert a nearby MECA staff member.

“It’s scary but you have to trust police are doing to do what they do and they will protect us. That’s their job,” Desler said.

OPD is coordinating with other authorities — even the FBI — in order to have an increased, proactive police effort during the College World Series. Police said additional officers will patrol The RiverFront as well as the Old Market area.

The Omaha Police Department would like to formally welcome all eight NCAA Baseball #MCWS teams and all fans! We look...

Posted by Omaha Police Department on Thursday, June 15, 2023


Police advised fans to make themselves familiar with the policies at Charles Schwab Field, from clear-bag requirements to prohibited items.

OPD noted that the public can bring cameras in, but no long lenses will be allowed — and camera bags must also be clear.

No drones will be allowed to utilize airspace around the field or CHI Health Center arena as they are both located within a five-mile radius of Eppley Field.

Scooters will be permitted but not on sidewalks or anywhere that impedes pedestrians; not on roadways with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or greater; and must not exceed 15 miles per hour.