MakeShift Challenge: Bomb in a Parking Garage: Most Creative Entry

Jeffrey Swan’s Most Creative Winning Entry
by Lee D. Zlotoff
April 15, 2009

Hmmm, I wonder how many NSA computers are going crazy as hundreds of Make: readers put “bomb” and “parking garage” in the subject of their email responses to this issue’s challenge? Hee hee hee.

The one assumption I will make here is that the picture depicted in the question generally represents the parking garage. In particular, I am interested in the drain pipe running near the ceiling and the position of “my” car.

Upon quick observation of the IR motion detectors, it would appear that these are the standard off-the-shelf type used in home and business security systems. That means that they have power, ground and signal out (sometimes a relay with NO and NC contacts). It also means that they do not do well detecting signals from above. Therefore, I can defeat the motion detectors by removing power from them. The power and signal connections should be marked clearly on the sensors for the people who usually install them. Now to get to them without setting off the bomb.

First, I am going to remove my belt (which means my pants too, I suppose. I hope no one is recording this on the security cameras). I re-thread my Leatherman case onto the belt, fold the belt a couple times, and put it in my mouth. Now, I carefully climb onto the hood of my car and grab hold of that drain pipe near the ceiling.

I shimmy down the pipe, carefully working my way around the sign hanging from it, until I am directly over the bomb and then, while holding on to the pipe with one hand, I wrap the belt over the pipe and buckle it so that it is as large as possible.

Now, the hard part. I carefully put one foot through the belt and use my other foot (locked over the first) to maintain a good hold. I take the Leatherman out of its case and hang upside down over the bomb. I find the power to the IR sensors and cut it with the cutters on the Leatherman. Now, I shimmy down the pipe a bit, remove my foot from the belt, and drop back to the ground.

Oh crap, now my time is down to 1 minute 10 seconds! OK, upon close inspection of the mercury switches, I see that they are all oriented so that they are not making a connection, so very carefully, I cut one wire to each of them. Good, that should take care of any physical movement detection.

If this is C-4 plastic explosive (which I assume it is by the consistency and smell), then all I need to do is get the blasting cap (the metal-looking cylinder) out of it. So, I pull it out … 10 seconds left!!!

There does not appear to be any other connection to the C-4, so I grab all the electronics in a big bundle and heave it toward the center of the garage and duck behind my car. A big BANG! That was the blasting cap. Threat neutralized!

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