By Leslie Albrecht and Juliet Linderman
MANHATTAN — This joke bombed.
A report of a grenade sparked an evacuation at a packed skyscraper in the World Financial Center Thursday morning, but investigators soon discovered that the device was no more than a novelty item, police said.
Building security spotted what they thought was an explosive device at 2 World Financial Center about 10:53 a.m. after they scanned a package dropped off by a UPS truck.
Workers alerted authorities, sparking an evacuation of the 44-story building, which houses financial powerhouses such as Deloitte, OppenheimerFunds and Merill Lynch.
The NYPD's bomb squad and Emergency Services Unit were called to the skyscraper to examine the device.
"It had the shape of a grenade, so as a precaution, we responded," an NYPD spokesman said.
But police later determined that it was nothing more than a grenade-shaped novelty item mounted on a plaque with a sign: "Complaint Dept. Pull Pin," the NYPD said on Twitter.
Workers appeared to take the incident in stride.
"They're doing their job and it's better to be safe than sorry," said Michael Schneider, who works for Oppenheimer. "And hey, I got to miss work for an hour."
Aubrey Joyce, who works at Deloitte, called the evacuation "annoying."
"These kinds of things are scary now, in light of 9/11," Joyce said. "I'm not laughing about it yet, but it does seem crazy."