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According to legal experts proving that accused “hoaxers” Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens intended a hoax may be difficult:


David White-Lief, the state bar’s president-elect and a Boston lawyer, said the lighted boxes probably do not meet the state statute’s definition of a hoax device, which must resemble an “infernal machine.” He interprets that description to mean something that looks like dynamite or a Molotov cocktail.

But the devices in Boston, which displayed a boxy-looking cartoon character giving the finger, “looked like toys,” White-Lief said.

More than three dozen electronic signs were placed in high-profile spots in Boston weeks before authorities responded Wednesday. Authorities shut down highways, bridges and river traffic while bomb squads checked out devices that turned out to be harmless. There was barely a stir in nine other cities across the country where similar devices were placed.

[Second graphic via Los Barrios.]


  1. It was obviously a joke, but it was more than stupid on their part. In this day and age, you just can’t do stuff like that.
    Have some smarts people. No matter how funny or cute you think it may be.

  2. If CN pays Boston the half-million the mayor says this cost, they will have gotten more bang for their buck than any publicity they could have bought. With a 30-second Super Bowl spot running 2.6 million dollars, a mere half-mill for the repeated exposures and mentions of ATHF they got this week was an unbelievable bargain.
    Putting them near overpasses and on bridges where people might mistake them WAS stupid, yes; I wonder if they were more careful about that in other cities.
    But as of now, officials in Boston look like a little over-reactionary, to say the least. And the governor of the state looks particularly stupid, repeatedly calling the cartoon boxes “a hoax.”