Arrest of sword-bearing man leads to bomb scare

An officer's suspicions about a man spotted this afternoon in the Portage Park neighborhood carrying a sword and wearing camouflage led to a bomb scare, police say.

The incident prompted police to shut down Laramie Avenue between West Addison Street and Eddy Street today for approximately two hours.

Officers patrolling the neighborhood about 3:30 p.m. spotted a man walking down Laramie Avenue carrying a sword. The man was wearing camouflage and was yelling about killing his boss, according to Commander Edward O' Donnell of the arson and bomb unit.

Police searched the man and found what appeared to be a pipe bomb, said O'Donnell.

Arson and bomb team members, as well as 10 other police units and the Fire Department were called to the scene. 

A police spokesman could not say this evening whether the bomb squad had destroyed the suspicious item, but  police officers on the scene said they planned to do so.

O'Donnell said officers eventually determined the item was not a real pipe bomb.

The man, whose name has not been released, was arrested. He is 32 and Polish-speaking. Police said he would probably be charged with unlawful use of a weapon.

Headley Hall, 16, was walking home from school when he saw the suspect walking north on Laramie, he said.

"He was carrying a sword--it was a samurai sword--I'd say three or four feet long," he said.