Suspicious package on University Avenue removed

UPDATED 12:30 p.m.

CHAMPAIGN — A suspicious package found in the 400 block of East University Avenue in Champaign Tuesday morning has been removed and the street has reopened to traffic.

Champaign police Sgt. Don Shelton said the package was found not to contain anything explosive but he declined to say what was in it.

A woman passing the parking lot of the former QC Financial at 401 E. University Ave., called police at 9:50 a.m. to say there was a suitcase in the lot.

"Anyone driving by would have wondered why it was there. It was in the center of the lot. It wasn't against the building," Shelton said.

Police immediately notified the local Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, which assembled and got the package about 11:15 a.m. The streets reopened about 11:20 a.m.

In the meantime, Shelton said police closed University Avenue between Third and Fifth streets and Fourth Street between Clark Street and Park Avenue to keep the area clear. They also evacuated employees and customers of the Golden Wok Thai Chinese restaurant at 405 E. University Avenue, next door to where the package was found, and from Dean's Superior Blueprint Inc. at 404 E. University Ave., across the street.

Micke Keodara, owner of the Golden Wok, said this is the first time anything like this has happened to him in the 10 years he's been in business there.

Shelton said police found a witness who saw a man leave the suitcase, a moderate-size carry-on bag, but the witness was unable to give a description of him.

Shelton said an EOD team member X-rayed the package on the site and when it was determined the contents didn't appear to have anything explosive, removed it from the scene.

The package will now be entered into evidence at the police department in case someone is arrested for having left it there.

"The perspective we have to come at it from is that it could be someone trying to get a rise out of us or trying to find out our response time in the event they plant a real bomb," Shelton said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Champaign police at 217-351-4545 or Crimestoppers of Champaign County at 21-373-8477.

 

 


 

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Joe American wrote on August 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm

There's also one of those for-profit "donation" boxes on the next lot (see that lime green eyesore??)  Anyone want to wager that someone was scrounging through the stuff that someone left sitting outside the box like they often do, took the suitcase, and after walking 50' decided they didn't want it?

gamera wrote on August 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Yes, so far our tax dollars have seen the bomb squad defusing:

 

a sack lunch

some dirty laundry

an box of nonexplosive items so ridiculous they couldn't even bring themselves to explain

 

People need to wise up a bit. 

EL YATIRI wrote on August 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm
Profile Picture

And we feel so safe now

Sid Saltfork wrote on August 28, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Maybe; those UPS, and FedEx packages should be checked!!!  One never knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men.

blpent wrote on August 28, 2012 at 5:08 pm

You got that right...what a waste of tax dollars!!!  Let me add a few more wasteful "bomb squad defusing" operations (just within the past 3 years) to your list:


2 pipe bombs at a residence; a pipe bomb in a mailbox; a chemical bomb at a residence; 8 pounds of crystallized dynamite at a residence; 6 live hand grenades at various residences; hoax device at a gas station; 3 live various mortar rounds; 100+ pounds of seized explosives from the ATF and other law enforcement agencies......


All of the above was rendered safe and disposed of by the UI and Champaign Bomb Squad without any injuries to anyone, so I really don't think they need to explain anything.  I am willing to bet out of all of these incidents someone's life was saved by the Bomb Squad.  And that's only going back 3 years.


Here is a good excerpt from an article about a local incident in Oakwood that might clue you in on why "our tax dollars" see such ridiculousness from the Bomb Squad:


     "She lost her husband when he walked out of the Methodist church and moved a cooler,   detonating a bomb inside."


A cooler????  I thought bombs would be obvious sticks of dynamite with a clock on top and  big red letters that said "BOMB" or "DANGER" or "WATCH OUT".  Bad guys don't hide guns in their pants and drugs in their girlfriends' body cavities do they??  So why would a bomber hide a bomb in a suitcase, brown paper bag or backpack???  Makes no sense does it?


Though I disagree with most of your post, I do 100% agree with your last sentence - some people really do need to wise up.  Do a little research on your tax dollars before you start bashing the guys that aren't afraid to reach down, grab 'em and walk up to deal with a real bomb.  Sure they get paid a little bit of overtime $$$, but ask their wives, children, parents and other family members if that extra few hundred dollars a year is worth the stress and worry every time that call comes in.


Keep doing what you do Bomb Squad.  Some of your citizens really do respect and appreciate what you do.  And others, well, they really do need to wise up.


 


 


 


 


 


 

Sid Saltfork wrote on August 28, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Your point was well made.  The majority of incidents may be nothing; but it only takes one to show the need for a bomb removal squad.  I retract my previous sarcasm.