Suspicious package in Dover park turns out to be geocache find

DOVER — A small pill bottle wrapped in camouflage tape caused a significant response by law enforcement after it was discovered in Schutte Park Saturday morning, authorities said.

While the item located by a City of Dover employee at 8:40 a.m. proved to be harmless, it took a Delaware State Police Explosive Ordnance Disposal team to confirm there was no danger involved.

The pill bottle was determined to be part of a geocache search, where participants look for an item after receiving location clues.

This small pill bottle wrapped in camouflage was found in Schutte Park in Dover Saturday morning, prompting a police investigation into its contents. (Submitted photo/Dover Police Department)

This small pill bottle wrapped in camouflage was found in Schutte Park in Dover Saturday morning, prompting a police investigation into its contents. (Submitted photo/Dover Police Department)

Geocaching participants use navigational techniques, including GPS, to hide and find containers, called geocaches. According to www.geocaching.com, participants create online code-name accounts, download GPS coordinates for a geocache in their area and once locating it, sign the logbook and return the item to its original position.

Dover Police Department said there’s nothing wrong with geocache itself, but urged participants to not use items with a suspicious look to them.

“While the Dover Police Department understands the recreational activity of geocaching, we ask that creators of geocache finds create items that are more obvious in nature,” said spokesman Cpl. Mark Hoffman, noting that common sense dictates that a created item should not appear threatening.

“In an environment where public safety is an ever-growing concern, items that give the appearance as this item did is taxing on manpower and resources that could be utilized more efficiently.”

The entire matter was resolved within an hour or less at the site on Electric Avenue, Cpl. Hoffman said, and the pill bottle was destroyed. Dover Police commended state police for their quick response after being called to assist.

Several years ago, Dover Police took several calls regarding a geocache item placed under a lifeguard shack on the east side of Silver Lake Park.

“We took several calls reporting suspicious people at the shack, some who appeared to be attempting a break-in,” Cpl. Hoffman said.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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