Ithaca (WSYR-TV) – New York State Police have determined that a suspicious package found outside the Bank of America building at the Ithaca Commons Thursday afternoon is not a threat.
“State Police examined the package, determined it was not an explosive device and at this point we've secured it as evidence and we’re still continuing our criminal investigation,” said Lt. Vincent Monticello, Ithaca Police.
The package was discovered at an outdoor mall at around 3 p.m., according to city clerk Julie Holcomb. The entire Commons area was blocked off for four hours as the investigation unfolded.
The building and others nearby were evacuated and people were asked to avoid the area during the investigation, Holcomb said.
“Occasionally we have a fire drill, but never anything like this and to this extent, so it was a little scary and I think not everyone was sure what they should do or where they should go,” said Vicki Taylor, who was forced to leave work during the investigation.
“It was a major inconvenience for a lot of people, business owners, residents...but we have to treat it as a possible dangerous device and so what we did was necessary,” Lt. Monticello said.
The Ithaca Commons and area businesses reopened at 7 p.m.
Police hope surveillance video from nearby businesses may offer some clues about the crime that turned a normally bustling social center into a guarded ghost town for hours.
An investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Ithaca Police Department at (607) 272-9973.
The Ithaca Police Department and Fire Department responded to the scene, as well as a K-9 unit from the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office and the New York State Bomb Disposal Unit.