A grad added a digital display to his cap for commencement. The police said it looked like an explosive.


WEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN/CNN) - Besides being done with school, one of the most exciting parts of graduating college is decorating your cap, traditionally called a mortar board.

One student’s graduation from Florida International University didn’t go quite as planned when police thought his cap had a bomb attached.

"I thought I'd try something different. It wasn't intended to be harmful in any way. This is a small creative project that I just wanted to show off at graduation," Can Cevik said.

It was a graduation ceremony he'll never forget.

Cevik says it’s the moments before commencement that left a lasting memory, all thanks to his custom graduation cap.

“I decorated it with an arduino, which is sort of like a small computer that you can program,” he said.

The FIU computer engineering major put a little creativity into his cap, using his coding skills to program the mini computer to spell out “FIU 2019”

When he walked up to the Ocean Bank Convocation Center Monday evening, campus police thought he was trying to go out with a bang.

“He tells me to put it on the floor and slowly back away from it.” Cevik said.

They also grabbed his phone and asked him to empty his pockets.

The FIU Police said the exposed wires and battery raised a few red flags, and even though it was harmless, the officer at the entrance weren’t taking any chances.

View this post on Instagram

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

A post shared by Can "anaconda" Cevik (@canaconda) on

“While that seems very innocent and looks very innocent, it also has the potential to scare people. Police officers spotted it and took necessary precautions,” said Capt. Delrish Moss/FIU Police:

Luckily it didn’t take long for police to figure it all out, and it didn’t delay the ceremony.

Cevik was only held up for about 20 minutes, and he was able to walk as scheduled wearing a replacement cap.

“I honestly think I was being a bit too naive. I probably should have seen that considering the current political climate we are in,” Cevik said.

Unfortunately, police weren’t able to give back his custom cap, but he says 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 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.”

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