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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Police: Fairground Bomb Could Be Publicity Stunt

A hand grenade that was found at the base of a roller coaster in Gorky Park may have been part of a bizarre publicity stunt, the detective in charge of the case said in an interview Tuesday.


Dmitry Kalaisin, chief of investigations at the Gorky Park police station, said that Pax Ltd, the Russian firm which operates the coaster and several other rides on land rented from the park, may have planted the apparent explosive in an act of "self-promotion".


Pax employees in Gorky Park declined to comment on the incident Tuesday. Moreover, a senior employee drove a reporter from his office, saying that the firm had "had it up to here".


Kalaisin said that a cross-park rivalry between firms running American-made rides and those running Italian-made ones was so fierce that Pax may have resorted to the act in order to draw attention its main attraction, a roller coaster.


On Saturday morning, a mechanic working for Pax found the grenade during a routine safety check. Police cleared the area and a pyrotechnical team was called in.


The specialists said it was a military anti-tank grenade, according to the Moscow newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets.


But police are now unsure whether the grenade had any explosive power, Kalaisin said Tuesday.


A police officer assigned to the area, who was sitting inside the cashier's booth at one of the rides and who declined to give his name, speculated Tuesday that organized crime may have been behind Saturday's incident.


"Maybe they didn't pay somebody", he said.


Kalaisin assigned extra police officers to the park after the scare, which he called an isolated incident. He said that few crimes had occurred in the park this year.