When something is nothing

May 14, 2010 1:44:27 PM PDT
See something, say something. That's the slogan that's been drummed into our heads the past few years.

And it's apparently working.

Man oh man is it working. The NYPD bomb squad is busier than ever these days, taking calls from peeps who have seen something.

But many of these folks are saying something when they see anything, not just something.

Earlier this week, a part of Times Square was shut down because someone left an empty pizza box on the ground, and someone else saw it and called cops. Oh brother.

And then there was last night in Union Square. A Con Ed worker walked out of the utility's headquarters building and saw an Olds Cutlass parked out front, with two gasoline cans in the backseat. No wires to the can. No nothing. Just two red plastic cans.

He called the cops, and the area was evacuated and closed. The bomb squad came in, with its robot and all the high-tech equipment. First, they blew the window out so they could get in the car. Then they grabbed the gas cans.


And you can just imagine the reaction of the car's owner, a man named Walter, who comes back from the concert he went to and finds his car damaged and cops swarming all around.

Oh, yeah, and the reason for the gas cans in the backseat? Walter's a gardener - the kind who uses a lawnmower in his business. A lawnmower that uses gasoline.

Oh brother. Are we overreacting? In our quest to ensure our safety, have we gone too far about eyeing with suspicion everything and everybody? It's a question an increasing number of people are now asking.

We're asking it as well tonight. We'll have the latest into the investigation into the "say something" incident that started all this - the Times Square bomb plot - tonight at 11. Click here to send us your thoughts.

Also at 11, if New York City streets seem a bit stinkier these days - it's not your imagination. They are. That's because - without much fanfare - the Sanitation Dept. stopped pick ups of public trash cans on commercial strips last summer. What used to be three-times-a-day pick ups are now happening once or twice a week.

Blame the recession.

That's why the public cans seem to always be brimming with garbage. It's especially bad in Brooklyn - which is where we begin our coverage tonight.

Also at 11, Nina Pineda with the story of a man who went on vacation and returned to find his car stolen from an off-site airport parking lot. The parking folks wouldn't even pay for the guy's rental car fees, so he took them to court, and won. But they didn't pay - until the man called Nina and got 7 On Your Side.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20.