North Colonie Mom’s Surprise Bombs at Daughter’s School

By Pug Ransom

Published November 13th, 2016

This shabbily wrapped, unaddressed package containing a Kate Spade bag set off widespread panic in
North Colonie on Nov. 7.

COLONIE — Authorities have identified a bored helicopter mom from Loudonville as the person responsible for triggering widespread panic across North Colonie on Nov. 7, when bomb-sniffing dogs and police clad in armored gear rushed to Shaker High School to investigate a suspicious package.

Cassandra Benton-Willoughby — the wife of renowned Capital District plastic surgeon H. Hummels Willoughby —said she hoped to surprise her 17-year-old daughter, Tiffany, with a new Kate Spade handbag. Instead, the package she left on the sidewalk in front of the high school sparked district-wide hysteria, prompting police to rush to the scene and causing the closure of nearby streets and a delay in the start of classes by more than two hours.

“I guess I forgot to include a label with Tiffany’s name. Oops,” said Benton-Willoughby. “I was so excited about surprising my baby that I never doubled-checked the package when I tossed it out the window of my Land Rover the night before. I just figured someone would bring it to the office and they’d call Tiffany down to pick it up. She’s such a great kid — and so fashionable, that one.”

Colonie Police Chief Leslie Nielsen, however, did not share Benton-Willoughby’s nonchalance.

“This was an extraordinary waste of time and resources,” said Nielsen. “We never have these problems in South Colonie. Those kids there, they carry their shit back and forth to school in dirty pillowcases. But these Shaker kids, with their BMWs and their Kate Spades and their North Faces — their parents ought to be shot.”

Nielsen said he estimates the manpower and resources used during the multi-hour police response cost the town roughly $94,000.

When told of the price tag, Benton-Willoughby seemed nonplussed.

“Hmmm, well, I’ll have to ask my husband to leave me a check so I can bring it down to Mr. Nielsen tomorrow,” she said. “Christmas might be a little tight this year. We’ll still give Tiffany the Ferragamo parka with the fox fur and the Audi she wanted, but she’ll have to wait for the diamond-studded emerald tiara. After all, I don’t want to spoil her.”


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