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No threat found from suspicious package in Batavia

Post office evacuated, but authorities found only weights in package

Published: Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 10:03 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 10:07 p.m. CDT

BATAVIA – The Batavia Post Office was evacuated early Thursday morning after a scare from a suspicious package, which resulted in bomb squads being called to the scene.

Beverly Howard, customer relations coordinator for the post office’s central Illinois district, said postal workers grew suspicious when they heard a ticking sound coming from a package that had been dropped off in an automated parcel unit in the post office’s lobby.

She said the Postal Inspection Service was called to the scene, and local authorities, including bomb squads, were called a short time after. The incident turned out to be a false alarm, and no one was injured. Howard said authorities opened one of the packages, which contained weights.

Batavia Deputy Police Chief Daniel Eul said the call came in at 5:19 a.m., and the building was evacuated. Workers appeared to drive their cars to a plaza across the street from the post office, where Eul said they waited for about an hour before returning to the post office parking lot.

“It was kind of the start-up time for the day,” he said. “There may have been a handful of people in the building.”

“There were no injuries, no charges, no cause for concern, no threat,” Eul said.

Howard said authorities isolated the package in question and said dogs were called to sniff for bombs. She said authorities looked at all the parcels in the bin to be safe and tried to contact the person who had sent the package.

Incidents of suspicious packages don’t happen too often, Howard said. Leaking packages and powders are among the most common types of suspicious packages postal employees come across, she added.

“Since anthrax, we’re very concerned,” she said. “Any time we get suspicious parcels, we do call authorities.”

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