Employee injured at virtual reality lab at Northeastern University, after opening package that included note attacking Mark Zuckerberg
Law enforcement in the United States are investigating an attack that appears to be motivated by a fear of VR (virtual reality) and augmented reality.
CNN reported that on Tuesday evening, Northeastern University in Boston was closed down, after a staffer at its VR lab was injured by an exploding package. The university reopened on Wednesday following the incident.
Boston police and the FBI are now investigating the incident as a “likely hoax,” multiple law enforcement sources have told CNN.
It seems that on Tuesday evening, the VR lab staffer apparently opened a hard plastic case, that depressurised with the force of an explosion, law enforcement sources said.
But contrary to earlier reports, Boston Police and FBI bomb technicians reportedly found the package did not include explosives or any detonation mechanism.
The 45 year old man, who works at the VR centre, suffered lacerations to his hands but was not seriously injured.
And the package wasn’t sent to the lab through the US postal service, according to multiple sources, and it remains unclear how the package arrived at the VR lab at the university.
CNN reported that detectives and law enforcement agents were reviewing surveillance video Wednesday to try and isolate images of how the plastic case got into the building and who delivered it.
The lab manager, who has worked in Northeastern’s virtual reality lab since at least 2020, told investigators that he found a note with the plastic case addressed to “the lab manager,” sources familiar with the investigation told CNN.
The manager also apparently stated to investigators that he saw two similar cases in the lab that he did not recognize, so he opened one of them, according to a law enforcement source.
A Boston Police spokesperson said Wednesday evening that their investigation is ongoing. The Boston Field Office of the FBI declined to comment, CNN reported.
Meanwhile it seems that Northeastern’s campus is now “secure and open” with beefed up security, the university said on Wednesday afternoon.
“Students, faculty and staff are being provided additional support services after an incident inside Holmes Hall on Tuesday night,” the university stated.
“No students were injured,” it added. “A staff member was treated at a local hospital for a minor hand injury after handling a hard plastic case.”
Holmes Hall was evacuated as a precaution shortly after 7 pm (Tuesday) and evening classes in nearby buildings were cancelled, it said.