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On March 27, before the morning bell sounded at Lafayette Elementary School, staff and early arrivals were evacuated. A teacher had spotted a suspicious object by the front door. Second District police officers, responding to a call, identified the object as an empty beer keg. “We have taken the keg to 2-D and will try to determine its owner,” Commander Jeff Moore reported in an e-mail to Ward 4 Councilmember Adrian Fenty. “…[T]here is nothing incendiary involved.” A week later, police say the case is still open. Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Joe Gentile says the barrel incident joins a long list of recent false alarms. After the Sept. 11 attacks, Gentile says, suspicious-package calls rose from about 20 per month to nearly 50. With war looming in Iraq, the tally for March spiked to 72. David Morton