Bag in Champaign park turns out to be empty
UPDATED 9 p.m. Thursday
CHAMPAIGN — Police reopened State Street at Church Street in Champaign late Thursday afternoon after a bomb squad checked a bag in West Side Park and found it was empty.
The University of Illinois and Champaign police bomb squad was sent to West Side Park at about 4 p.m. Thursday after a resident reported a suspicious bookbag east of the park’s fountain, according to UI police Lt. Steve Trame, bomb squad commander.
“A person had seen the bag, and nobody came near it for quite some time, so they called it in as being suspicious, which is the right thing to do,” Trame said.
The Champaign Fire Department and paramedics also came to the scene, and State Street was closed from Church Street to University Avenue.
After the bomb squad arrived, a robot was sent to the bookbag’s location.
A bomb squad member put on a protective suit, went to the site and took an X-ray of the wheeled black bookbag.
“The bag was completely 110 percent empty,” Trame said.
Police left the scene at 5:12 p.m.
Trame said police will keep the bag as evidence.
On Wednesday, Urbana police responded to a report of a suspicious bag near Leal School.
The bag, on the corner of Cedar and Oregon streets near Leal School in the heart of Urbana, was empty.
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 for explosives. None was found.
Trame said that, while different people have called in the various suspicious items, police haven’t ruled out the possibility that the incidents may be related.
Police are asking anybody with information about the incidents to call Champaign County Crimestoppers at 373-8477. Tips can also be sent online at www.373tips.com or by cellphone text message by sending Tip397 plus the information to CRIMES (274637). The information you provide is confidential. You do not have to give your name or appear in court.