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False alarm: NYPD evacuate Times Square over suspicious package

Raw Story
May 8, 2010

Books and water bottles were found in the cooler after it was x-rayed

New York police evacuated part of Times Square on Friday to investigate a suspicious package a week almost after a car bomb was discovered in the area.

“We’re responding to a suspicious package,” a spokesman for the New York Police Department (NYPD) told AFP. “We will be taking all necessary precautions.”

On May 1 police found a large, but malfunctioning car bomb in Times Square, sparking a 53-hour manhunt that ended with the arrest of Pakistani-born US citizen Faisal Shahzad.

Gothamist notes that another “suspicious package shut down a block of Eighth Avenue by 44th Street earlier today,” adding “We turn once again to the Office of Emergency Management Twitter page, which states: ‘Due to police activity in the vicinity of 46th Street and Broadway(MN) expect street closures in the Times Square area.’ Honestly this is getting kind of repetitive…”

Gather’s Kate James adds, “Also, the RFK bridge was closed down for a few hours on Wednesday over a suspicious abandoned truck left on the bridge. The truck turned out to not be a bomb.”

True/Slant’s Michael Roston reports on a NYC “week filled with false alarms.”

Did someone try to bomb Times Square again, this time with a ’suspicious package’? Probably not. But a stretch of Times Square was closed down this afternoon, and everyone in the news is running after it, because it’s Friday, and a reasonably slow news day because the quartet of disasters that we’re still dealing with this week – Saturday’s failed car bomb attempt by Faisal Shahzad, the environmental disaster caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Nashville floods, and the freaking out stock market – well, they just aren’t that new anymore.

Fox and MSNBC aired shots of a bomb technician getting suited up.

The package has been described as a lunch cooler with a handle.

The Washington Post reports,

Det. Mindy Diaz described the package as an unattended bag, left in front of the Marriott Marquis hotel at 46th Street and Broadway. The bag was discovered at 12:42 p.m., Diaz said.

“That’s all we have right now,” Diaz said. “We don’t know what it is.”

An Associated Press article adds, “Three blocks around Times Square were closed as a precaution because the cooler was found about a block from where a smoking SUV and failed car bomb was found Saturday night.”

MSNBC adds,

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne says police have created some distance between the cooler and are “in an abundance of caution” looking into whether the cooler was abandoned by someone. Browne said no evacuations have been ordered from buildings.

“As a precaution, we’re keeping people away from it,” Browne said.

Books and water bottles were found in the cooler after it was x-rayed, and the police called off the evacuation. MSNBC reporters spent five minutes congratulating the NYPD for “taking no chances” after the package fear turned out to be a false alarm.

Another AP article quotes NYPD spokesman Paul Browne:

“People are being more vigilant, and that’s a good thing,” Browne said earlier Friday. “People are also getting their lost property returned a lot faster these days,” he quipped.

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