02-10-09 Mall Evacuation UPDATE
Mall Evacuation UPDATE
Boise, Feb. 9, 2009, 11:31 p.m. - Boise Police Bomb technicians are giving the "all clear" to the Boise Towne Square Mall. Officers say they have inspected five suspicious looking devices found at the Towne Square Mall. Officers say all the devices were hoaxes, all similar in appearance, all apparently meant to look like viable explosive devices.
Boise Police bomb sniffing dogs are making another search of the mall, seeing if any further devices can be found at this time.
Now that the mall area has been deemed safe, Boise Police detectives are also beginning their investigation into who may have put the devices in the popular shopping area, causing an evacuation of approx. 2,000 people.
"This is something Boise Police train for," said Lt. Dave Adams, Boise Police Watch Commander. "Boise Police and our emergency responder partners train for incidents that are likely to happen, incidents like this. We're prepared to respond quickly, make sure people are safe, and send in our investigators and try to get things back to normal."
"Making sure people are safe is our first priority," said Lt. Adams.
What Happened: About 7:00 p.m. an employee of a store in the mall saw a small device she thought looked suspicious, and alerted mall security. Mall security called Boise Police, who immediately called for the Boise Police Bomb Squad to respond. Officers also immediately evacuated an area about 300-feet around the device.
About 7:30 p.m. a Boise Police officer found a second, similar looking device on the second level of the mall near the food court. At that time, for the safety of mall employees and patrons, Boise Police made the decision to evacuate the entire mall. Mall management estimates approx 1,800 employees were in the mall at the time, along with a number of customers.
Officers say everyone was calm and the evacuation went orderly. The parking lot was not evacuated and customers
During further search of the mall, Boise Police and mall security found an additional three devices in other undisclosed locations, one just outside a mall entrance. All the devices were in plain view.
Boise Police Bomb technicians did a methodical inspection of each device. All five were found to be hoax devices.
The investigation: Boise Police detectives are inside the mall searching for evidence into who is responsible for placing the devices.
Boise Police are not aware of any threats made to the mall area or elsewhere.
Anyone who may have any information is urged to call Boise area Crime Stoppers at 343-COPS. Callers can remain anonymous. Callers with information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000. Citizens can also go online to www.343COPS.com, follow the links and leave their tip, or text tips the word "TIP236" and type in "CRIMES" to get to the tipline.