This photo of bottles containing "an unknown substance believed to be excrement" was circulated over the weekend with a note connecting them to the NATO summit. Chicago Police quickly doused rumors the bottles had anything to do with the summit.
Leading up to the NATO summit, it's still not clear what Chicago is in for when world leaders convene here in late May, but police are leaving no potential lead unchecked.
Over the weekend, a photo was circulated to NBC Chicago of hundreds of plastic bottles filled with what the sender (who will remain anonymous ) called "a combination of urine and fecal matter."
The tipster said the bottles were being stored all over the city ahead of NATO, during which, the sender speculated, the bottles might be launched at police.
Chicago Police on Monday debunked the theory in a statement insisting the bottles were stockpiled by a mental patient -- not protesters.
"At approximately 7:50 p.m. on April 27th, Ogden District tactical officers on surveillance observed approximately 400-500 plastic bottles containing an unknown substance believed to be excrement at a location on the 1500 block of S. Springfield. Further investigation revealed a person with mental-health issues was responsible for the circumstances. Arrangements have been made for the safe removal of bottles."
As extra security apparently moves into the Loop this week, police are checking everything they can while also trying to soothe fears about expected violence, and out of control protests.
Last week security experts held two meetings with residents and business owners to soothe anxiety and put an end to what they call misinformation surrounding a summit that will be the size of a small trade show.
“It should be like Y2K,” said Tom Dobry, the chief of the Local One training center, during the meeting. “A lot of buildup, a lot of hype, but at the end of the day, we should wake up on Tuesday morning, and say, ‘That was it?’”
Not all businesses are worried. Some, including dozens of Chicago restaurants, see it as an opportunity to grab a momentary international spotlight.
Others who live around McCormick Place, where the summit will take place, remain on edge. Commuters are worried too about whether rumored transit closures will affect them. And the level of security remains an ongoing question mark.
The feds aren't take any chances. Starting this week, a downtown security perimeter labeled the "Red Zone" reportedly could be swarming with armed federal officers wearing full battle gear.
On Friday, Adbusters called for 50,000 Occupy protesters in the city.
The Red Cross is on alert too. The agency apparently alerted Milwaukee in case Chicagoans evacuate downtown.
Or did they? These days, it's tough to tell truth from rumor.