WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - An engineering student who recently graduated from Florida International University decorated his cap with a miniature electronic display board representing his graduating class, which looked cool in the eyes of his classmates, but FIU Police feared otherwise.
This happened during the evening graduation ceremony at 5:11 p.m. Monday at FIU’s Ocean Bank Convocation Center at 11200 SW 8th St. in West Miami-Dade.
Can Cevik, the computer engineering graduate, decorated his graduation cap with an Arduino Uno, an open-source micro-controller board that was powered a nine-volt battery, displaying the message “FIU 2019.”
“I thought I’d try something different,” Cevik said. “It wasn’t intended to be harmful in any way — just as a small creative project that I just wanted to show off for graduation.”
According to Cevik’s Instagram post, a police officer spotted the cap while graduates were checking in, so he never went inside the ceremony with the cap.
“He tells me to put it on the floor and instantly back away from it,” Cevik said.
The officer also grabbed his phone and asked him to empty his pockets.
Police said the exposed wires and battery raised a few red flags. Even though it was harmless, the officer at the entrance did not take any chances.
“While that seems very innocent and looks very innocent, it also has the potential to scare people,” FIU Police Capt. Delrish Moss said. “A police officer spotted it and took the necessary precautions.”
However, it did not take long for police to figure it out, and the incident did not delay the ceremony.
Cevik was held for around 20 minutes, and he walked as scheduled while wearing a replacement cap. Police then called the bomb squad and destroyed Cevik’s original cap.
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TL;DR: cops assumed small microcontroller was an explosive device at my graduation. Dear FIU @fiuinstagram and Miami Beach community, yesterday as I was about to pass through security to attend my graduation, I was stopped by police for what they saw on my graduation cap; them assuming the worst, my cap and cellphone (temporarily) were seized as police were investigating what it was. All of a sudden, they closing doors and leading people away from the local vicinity. After some discussion and explaining the whole deal, I was told not to do this again and I wouldn't be able to bring my cap (was given a new cap). just to clear things up, my cap had an Arduino Uno with a 7-segment display on it and was powered by a 9V battery; it was not an explosive; an Arduino is a microcontroller, like a small programmable computer. My Arduino and original cap was destroyed and not given back to me, though my cellphone was. Despite not getting ~$20 worth of electronics back, I appreciate the work put in by the police to ensure everyone was safe as well as their continued work to keep the community safe. After being held back for about 10 minutes, I continued to my graduation and everything was back to normal. Thanks especially to police woman Ms. Rubio for helping to deal with the whole situation. Sorry @miamibeachpd I didn't mean to scare/hurt anyone! Had I known this would happen, I would've decorated my cap differently (makes for a good story though!) I'm just an engineering student trying to get my degree! #FIUGrad #FIU #FIU2019 #Police #Arduino #FalseAlarm #Engineering #OkayThisIsEpic #fiualumni #Graduation @onlyindade @fiuinstagram @fiu_cec @miamibeachpd @reddit @local10news @elegoo_official @arduino.cc @fiupres5
Cevik apologized in an Instagram post featuring the micro board saying he meant no harm to anyone at the graduation ceremony and appreciated the work police have done to ensure everyone’s safety.
“Honestly, I think I was being a bit too naive,” Cevik said. “I probably should’ve seen that considering the current political climate we are in.”
Although he was not able to have his original cap returned, Cevik said after five years of hard work, getting his degree is all that matters, and nothing could put a damper on his graduation day — not even a brief bomb scare.
“A couple of hours before graduation, I just taped it right on my cap, and I guess that’s what made it look a bit sketchy maybe,” Cevik said. “I probably won’t bring anything like this to a graduation or any other public event again.”
Cevik said that since all the graduation excitement is behind him, he can now focus on his job search.
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