Misspelled Sign Riles Would-Be Pressure Cooker Bomber in Oregon

Thursday, 30 May 2013 01:20 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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An Oregon man walked into a state office Wednesday with what he claimed was a pressure cooker bomb and informed employees there that he had tried to blow up a sign outside the building because it was misspelled.

Leonard Burdek, 50, of Salem, Ore., went into the Teacher Standards and Commission office Wednesday morning and set a pressure cooker on the counter.

"He walked quite confidently into our office as though he had a mission, and I think that was what alarmed me right off the bat," Executive Director Vickie Chamberlain told the Statesman Journal.

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Burdek reportedly told Chamberlain and the receptionist that he had just tried to blow up the office's outside sign because it was misspelled, but the bomb didn’t work. He also complained that the instructions he used to build the bomb contained misspellings, Chamberlain said.

The agency's sign is missing the letter "D" from the word "and" on one side, so it reads: "Teacher Standards an Practices Commission."


Burdek left when he noticed another employee calling 911, but police found him nearby the office shortly after and arrested him.

Lt. Dave Okada, a spokesman for the Salem Police Department, told the Statesman Journal that Burdek’s pressure cooker was not a bomb, and he was charged with disorderly conduct.

"It looks like he was just trying to get attention," Okada said.

Chamberlain said the agency is rethinking its open-door policy in light of the incident.

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"The doors will stay locked certainly for the near term until we are all a little more calm and until we can feel a little more reassured about how we are going to handle these situations if they occur in the future," she said.

The country is on high alert ever since the Tsarnaev brothers allegedly used two pressure cooker bombs to wreak havoc at the Boston Marathon bombings April 15.

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Saudi Man Arrested in Detroit After Bringing Pressure Cooker on Flight

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