Urbana police cordon off area next to grade school for abandoned suitcase
URBANA — For the second time in as many days, someone has left a suitcase in a public place, raising fear that it could contain explosives.
Wednesday morning, it was on the corner of Cedar and Oregon streets near Leal School in the heart of Urbana.
Lt. Bob Fitzgerald said at 8:44 a.m., a neighbor called to report seeing a suitcase on a sidewalk on the east side of Leal School.
Fitzgerald said police had the students move to the west side of the school but stay indoors.
"We cordoned the area off. We contacted the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team. They checked it and found the suitcase was empty," he said.
Fitzgerald said the area was declared safe about 10:20 a.m.
On Tuesday morning, Champaign police were called to the parking lot of the former QC Financial at 401 E. University Ave., where a suitcase had been left in the middle of a parking lot, prompting police to cordon off that area for about 90 minutes while it was checked.
There was nothing explosive in it.
Like Champaign police, Fitzgerald said his officers must and do take such calls very seriously.
"We don't know if someone is playing jokes, if someone is watching us, waiting to see if we get lackadaisical," he said.
The calls are labor intensive for the police departments, requiring extra manpower to block streets and evacuate people.
Fitzgerald said police evacuated one house in the Leal area.
"It took almost our whole shift. We had to close streets. We got help from the UI," he said, in addition to the UI and Champaign police officers who also serve on the EOD team.
Fitzgerald said police have not located anyone who saw who left the suitcase Wednesday morning.
If anyone has information, they are asked to call Urbana police at 384-2320 or Crimestoppers at 373-8477.