Vibrator In Handbag Sparks Terror Alert At Vienna Opera

Story ByMichael Leidig,Sub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyCentral European News

A vibrator sparked a terror alert at one of Vienna’s poshest music venues when it started vibrating inside a bag handed by a couple to the cloakroom assistant.

Armed officers together with a bomb squad team rushed to the Konzerthaus in the Austrian capital Vienna where the vibrating bag was identified and examined for traces of explosives.

The cloakroom attendant had been gathering cloaks and bags from music lovers at the posh Viennese concert hall which includes the main auditorium with 1846, as well as the smaller Mozart auditorium with 704 seats and the Schubert auditorium with just 336. With soundproofing and allows concerts to be performed at all three and more recently a fourth auditorium capable of holding a further 400 people was added.

Picture Credit: CEN/Rupert Steiner

It frequently hosts performances by some of the world’s most famous orchestras and locally the Vienna Symphony, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Wiener Singakademie, and the Klangforum Wien are all in residence at the location in the art nouveau building.

The incident happened this week on Tuesday evening when the wardrobe attendant suddenly realised one of the bags was vibrating, and immediately called the police. After checking that there were no obvious signs of explosives using sensitive measuring equipment, then bought in an x-ray machine which revealed that there was a vibrator inside.

Police spokesman Patrick Maierhofer said: “The bag had fallen on its side. Officers were able to quickly identify the cause of vibration and therefore it was not necessary to disturb the performance and the show went on. After it finished, the bag was returned to the man and his female companion by police, who informed them what had happened, and then wished them a “pleasant evening”.

Local media noted that in the film Fight Club included the classic quote: “Modern bombs do not tick, but if the suitcase vibrates, then we have to call the police.”

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