San Francisco Evacuated Union Square Over Suspicious Package

Friday, 18 Oct 2013 07:06 AM

By Michael Mullins

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San Francisco evacuated its Union Square area for two hours on Thursday after reports of a suspicious package.

At approximately 11:50 PST, a police officer assigned to the area noticed an abandoned package in the Union Square vicinity that appeared to contain "evidence that the officer determined needed to be treated with caution,'' according to San Francisco Police Department spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

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Additional units were called in and a 1-block area surrounding the package was evacuated as the city's bomb squad arrived to determine whether the bag's contents posed a risk.

Once authorities deemed the package not to be dangerous, the bag was removed and placed into evidence. Shortly after the evacuation order was lifted and people were allowed back into Union Square.

Police have not been able to identify the bag's owner and authorities would not say what was inside "the suspicious package," saying only that it had "been secured," the San Jose Mercury News reported.

The bomb scare occurred just days before a Nike-sponsored run was set to take place in the area, causing some observers to have memories of the Boston Marathon bombing that occurred in April and killed three people, severely wounding scores of others.

"I hadn't worried about it until they mentioned this bomb threat," Eileen Gapasin, 29, told the San Francisco Chronicle in reference to the possibility that this was another marathon terrorist attack. "It's scary to think of the possibility, especially because it's supposed to be a positive experience."

The bomb scare forced Nike Women's race organizers to postpone a pre-race event they had scheduled for Thursday afternoon, with marathon spokeswoman Jacie Prieto-Lopez telling reporters, "consumer safety is paramount to Nike."

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A major local tourist destination, Union Square is filled with upscale hotels and high-end retail stores, including Tiffany & Co., Nordstrom, Banana Republic, an even the Ferrari Store.

Related stories:

Zeljko Causevic Arrested for Bomb Scare at Jacksonville Airport

Eiffel Tower Bomb Alert Clears Paris Landmark for 2 Hours

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