Some businesses in the 31700 block of Coast Highway were evacuated briefly around 9 a.m. Wednesday after a phony time bomb was spotted inside a parked car, authorities said.
The device, built to resemble sticks of dynamite with an attached clock, was a commercially made gag item, said Sheriff's Lt. Bob Rivas. A passer-by saw it inside the car and Orange County firefighters were summoned. Technicians of the Sheriff's Department hazardous device squad then arrived and recognized the device as a fake.
The devices are "scary," Rivas said. "They look so real." Rivas said bomb technicians have seen commercially made fake bombs sold as gifts, a practice "which we here at the department don't take as a joke."
Authorities traced the car's ownership to a man who said the vehicle had been driven by his daughter, who, low on gas on her way to school, left the car in a parking lot. No one was cited.