The following is a rough timeline of the events, which led Boston police and city officials to hunt down Aqua Teen Hunger Force mooninite displays, believing, at first, that they were bombs, then suspecting that the ads were part of an elaborate terrorist hoax.
ABOUT TWO WEEKS AGO Mooninites are installed in Boston, as part of a 10-city marketing campaign for Aqua Teen Hunger Force. They are also installed in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.
8:05 AM An MBTA worker spots one of the devices underneath an Interstate 93 North overpass, just above the bus depot at the Sullivan Square T station, in Charlestown, on the Orange Line.
9 AM Channel Four and Channel Five report that the Interstate has been closed; they break in with updates throughout the day.
10 AM The State Police blows the mooninite object apart with a water cannon to render it safe, and determines it does not contain explosives.
10:05 AM Interstate 93 is reopened.
10:50 AM Police reportedly receive a call regarding a suspicious package at South Station, leading them to close the commuter-rail station and adjoining streets.
NOON Police use a remote-controlled robot to inspect the South Station package and determine that it is not an explosive device.
1 PM Police receive four calls about similar devices found at the Boston University Bridge, the Longfellow Bridge, the intersection of Columbus and Stuart Streets, and the Tufts-New England Medical Center. Police Commissioner Edward Davis later says the Longfellow Bridge and medical center device are unrelated to the others.
2 PM Storrow Drive is closed.
2–3 PM A Boston police analyst realizes the mooninite is in the image of a cartoon character; police conclude it is likely a publicity stunt.
2:20 PM The MBTA suspends service on the Red Line between Park and Kendall stations. Channel Five breaks into regularly scheduled programming to begin continuous coverage.
2:30 PM One eastbound lane on Storrow Drive is reopened.
2:35 PM Red Line service is resumed.
Coast Guard officials close the Charles River to all water traffic form the Museum of Science to the locks at Boston Harbor.
5 PM Turner Broadcasting System Inc. sends a fax to City Hall, notifying officials that the mooninites are part of a guerilla marketing campaign. They apologize for the confusion.
6:30 PM Channel Five discontinues its continuous coverage.
8:20 PM Police arrest Peter Berdovsky, 27, an artist originally from Belarus who now lives in Arlington. Earlier in the day he tells the Boston Globe he was responsible for putting up the signs, saying he is “a little kind of freaked out” about the police response.
9 PM Menino receives a call from a low-ranking press official at Turner, according to the Boston Globe. Police have so far recovered 14 devices throughout the city.
11:30 PM Sean Stevens, 28, of Charlestown, is arrested, according to Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office.
9 AM Both suspects are arraigned in Charlestown District Court and charged with one count of placing a hoax device, plus one count of disorderly conduct. They plead not guilty and are released on $2500 bail.
Following the press conference, they refuse to comment on the case, saying they will only answer questions about ’70s hairstyles.
Sources: The Boston Globe, Boston Business Journal, Channel 5 (WCVB-TV), the Associated Press, and CNN.