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.