I'm obviously new around here. I can see both sides of this discussion. It seem that Modesto may have been able to get around this, but they took the safe route, and did what they felt was in the best interest of their citizens. In the same situation, I would have done the same thing, except that I would have KNOWN to expect it there-it'd be in my Garmin and PalmPilot.(I also wear a uniform-here in Sacto though).
The other possibility would have been worse. Had it turned out to be a real device and they lost an officer, 100X more damage would have been done to geocaching than what has happened so far. So, try to be understanding of the Dept.'s position, and their responsibility to the citizens (all of them, not just geocachers). Also, most big departments have bomb squads, and can be VERY active. Don't think it has to be Unabombers to bring them out. They deal with everything from IEDs(such as pipe bombs) to illegal/modified fireworks.
The issue of going after the person who placed it there is different, and I can't/won't speak to that.
I too empathize with those expressing well wishes to the person who placed the cache.