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Gate at US Army base in Germany closed after retiree reportedly says ‘bomb’ to guards

Kleber Kaserne, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz, Kaiserslautern, Germany, Aug. 17, 2016. (U.S. Army photo by Sarah Gross)

Kleber Kaserne was locked down and personnel were advised to shelter in place Thursday evening after an Army retiree purportedly mentioned a bomb to guards at the Kaiserslautern base’s main gate.

The 83-year-old driver had tried to enter at about 6 p.m., but became angry after guards directed him to a vehicle search area as part of a random antiterrorism measure, said Stefan Alford, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz spokesman.

“He refused and he started arguing with the guards and then he made a statement about having a bomb,” Alford said. “Whether in jest, frustration or whatever, that triggers a whole litany of … procedures that our guards have to follow.”

The elderly man apparently tried to turn around and leave the base when he was ordered to stop and get out, Alford said.

The front gate was cordoned off and dog teams were sent to inspect the car, a late model black Mercedes. The dogs cleared it and a bomb disposal team from nearby Ramstein Air Base also checked it out. The team used a remotely controlled bomb disposal robot to search the vehicle.

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“The robot just kind of checked for tampering evidence,” Alford said.

The vehicle was cleared, the shelter-in-place advisory was lifted and the gates were open as of about 7:30 p.m., Alford said.

The elderly driver was turned over to the local German police, Alford said.

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